BRIGHAM CITY — Box Elder County Commissioner Stan Summers is in Washington, D.C., today, March 13, as part of a group in meetings with President Donald Trump on health care issues.
Summers, before he flew to Washington Sunday morning, said he was among 10 people from around the country who would be at the table with Trump and his advisers to talk about issues like rare diseases and the Affordable Care Act.
Summers said he was advised he would be in meetings with Trump and his staff all morning today. His selection was brokered by Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, he said, because he has been involved with the senator's staff on the aforementioned health care concerns.
"Me and my big mouth," Summers said. " ... I think my name popped up because of the work I've been doing helping Hatch's office with ACA and rare disease. Because of my son Talan ... They warned me that the national press would be all over this so to be prepared. I told them if I can help one person for the better, then bring it on."
Summers' 25-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare, incurable and fatal disease in his teens called IGg4 systemic sclerosing disease, which slowly hardens internal tissues and organs.
Summers and his wife Jennifer, of Bothwell, just outside Tremonton, have since been involved in awareness education and advocacy regarding rare diseases and related insurance issues such as "Right To Try" legislation to allow access to experimental drugs and procedures before they are approved for public use.
Summers was scheduled for a "pre-meeting" at 10 a.m. today at the White House before the sit-down with Trump at 11 a.m., expected to last until 12:30 p.m.
"In his conversations with the president, Sen. Hatch suggested he meet with Commissioner Summers, who has worked with the Senator on a number of critical health- related issues," Matt Whitlock, press secretary in Hatch's Salt Lake City office, said today.
Summers is seen as someone "who has personally experienced the negative effects of Obamacare," Whitlock said. "Stan understands the needs of everyday Utahns, including the obstacles they face in obtaining quality, affordable health care.
"Stan will offer the president an invaluable perspective."