Sen. Dean Burke gives ‘State of the State’ at Rotary

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Senator Dean Burke, M.D., (Georgia Senate District 11) was the speaker at this week’s Rotary club.

He gave a summary of the issues and workings of the senate as well as his view of the fiscal state of Georgia, which he describes as very positive. He anticipates a 5 to 6 percent growth in revenues for the end of the year, which would make Georgia number one in all the states for additional revenue.

He described working out a much needed transportation bill with a good compromise that should ease many of the fears the schools and local governments had from what was contained in the original bill. He said users will see a change of 5 or 6 cents per gallon at the pump. He stressed the need for the bill as all federal funds have basically dried up.

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He also addressed the passing of the medical marijuana bill, saying that it gave approval for people with certain medical conditions, such as children with seizures,
patients with chronic pain, Cancer patients, to receive oil made from marijuana.

He said he had voted against it, along with 6 or 7 other senators, feeling “We’ve okayed a drug that hasn’t been proven. I hope we don’t look back in five years and find it was the wrong thing to do.”

Another health issue was the autism legislation that approves paying for extensive  treatment for children diagnosed with autism. This was described as an increasing health problem, with one in 64 children being diagnosed with autism. If it is caught between the ages of one and six, authorized treatment can educate and train them for independent life.

As Burke serves on the HealthCare appropriation Committee he explained the need to expand Medicaid for obstetrical and primary care physician reimbursements. He explained very few doctors today are delivering babies for Medicaid patients and it is all related to reimbursement issues. “Anything we can do to stabilize rural medical care in our hospitals is a priority.”

One of the questions from the audience was if there was any state legislation action being planned reference immigration, Burke answered that he didn’t know there was much the state can do. “I think the President and Congress will have to work it out. The states hands are pretty well tied.”