Riley talks healthcare, assumes leadership of SGA

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

WILLIAMSBURG, VA (WSFA) - Just outside of Richmond, nearly a dozen state leaders converged for the 75th annual Southern Governors Association summit.

Healthcare was one of the most discussed topics.

"We're doing well in a lot of areas, but in a lot of states, our health indicators are below national averages.  Infant mortality, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease--so we have a lot to gain if we get health reform right," said Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Governor Bob Riley, who attended the conference, says he's concerned over rising healthcare costs--and what it's doing to government.

"We can't allow medical costs to continue to dictate what we do in all forms of government, whether it's corrections, public safety, environmental concerns--everything is being dictated today on the costs for health care and our medicaid budgets," Riley said.

Though healthcare dominated conversation, Riley told WSFA 12 News earlier this week, the focus needs to shift to marketability, and attracting economic development to all points South.

"Maybe we need to start advertising or branding the south as a particular part of the us that offers some really great advantages for anyone who might want to come here," Riley explained.

Riley hopes to implement those ideas in a new initiative with the Southern Governors Association.

He becomes the group's chairman on Monday.

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