Roe visits with Kiwanis Club, gives Washington update

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Members of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club heard an update on Congress Tuesday as U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, M.D., joined them as the featured speaker at their weekly luncheon meeting.

When Congress returns from the August Recess, Roe said he and his colleagues will be working on a number of issues, including the federal budget, increasing military spending, tax reform, reducing federal rules and regulations, and continuing efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

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Health care reform has been a topic of contention for several years in Washington, D.C., and continues to be a hot button issue as Republicans work to repeal and replace the ACA put into place under the Obama administration.

Making healthcare more affordable is a top priority of not only Republicans in Congress, but also President Donald Trump, according to Roe. Since the implementation of the ACA, Roe said the cost of insurance and obtaining healthcare has continued to rise. Citizens are now faced with not only high insurance premiums but also high deductibles and a high cost to obtain their prescription medications.

“No one can afford health insurance at the rate it’s going,” Roe said.

In addition to targeting ways to bring the cost of insurance and medications down, Roe said members of Congress are working to reduce the regulations and rules which lead compound the problem through the high costs for medical administration.

“We spend more money on medical administration than we do on heart disease and cancer combined in this country,” Roe said. “That money should go toward someone’s medicine, or treatment, or to get them insurance.”

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed legislation to repeal and replace the ACA but a similar measure stalled out in the Senate. When Congress returns from the break, Roe said both houses of Congress will continue to work on the issue.

Roe also discussed growing concerns over missile and weapons tests in North Korea.

“The most dangerous place in the world right now is North Korea with nuclear weapons,” Roe said. “We don’t know how many they have.”

During the early morning hours on Tuesday in local North Korea time, the country launched a missile over the Japanese island of Hokkaido and into the Pacific Ocean.

On Tuesday, Trump issued a statement that “all options are on the table” in the wake of the missile launch.

“The world has received North Korea’s latest message loud and clear: this regime has signaled its contempt for its neighbors, for all members of the United Nations, and for minimum standards of acceptable international behavior,” Trump said. “Threatening and destabilizing actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world. All options are on the table.”