Roe: Congress must address budget, health care

Published 9:14 am Thursday, November 13, 2014


As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares for a new term, Congressman Phil Roe said there are many serious issues the legislature needs to address.
The first thing on the plate of representatives as they head to work in the capital this week is the federal budget.
A firm deadline of Dec. 11 looms for legislators, but Roe said if an agreement cannot be reached, Congress could pass a continuing resolution to keep the government in operation.
Once the budget is dealt with, Roe said Congress must tackle health care reform.
In 2013, Roe sponsored House Resolution 3121, the American Health Care Reform Act. He said that bill is undergoing some changes to make it even better and more effective.
“We will have a Republican alternative ready to go at the first of the year,” Roe said.
According to Roe, the bill has enough support to make it through the committee process to come to a vote on the floor of the House.
“We hope to get it on the president’s desk,” Roe said. “I hope the president will be proactive on health care and want to work with us.”
One of the most important changes would be ending the “10 essential health benefits” provision on the current national health care law, Roe said. Roe, who was a physician prior to serving in Congress, said having those required elements in all approved policies makes health care unaffordable for many Americans and takes flexibility out of choosing an insurance plan.
“It’s like if I went to buy a car and the dealer told me I had to have extras like a sunroof or mud flaps or white-wall tires in order to buy a car when I don’t want or need those things,” Roe said.
The American Health Care Reform Act will remove those “10 essential health benefits” and will make other changes, which Roe said are necessary to truly make health care affordable.
Roe said he hopes the Senate and President Obama will be willing to work together with the House of Representatives to make positive changes for the country.
“That is the way Congress is supposed to work,” he said.
This week, the House will hold several organizational meetings, Roe said, adding the body will begin selecting chairs for various committees as well as selecting a Speaker of the House and the party leaders. Roe said he did not expect a lot of changes in leadership.

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