THIS WEEK ON WASHINGTON JOURNAL
This week, I joined Washington Journal on C-SPAN to discuss the future of our health care system, climate change and other news of the day.
THE PAYMENT COMMISSION DATA ACT
Also this week, legislation I introduced to increase transparency in the drug pricing system was approved by the Health Subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
My legislation, the Payment Commission Data Act, ensures the independent advisory commissions tasked with providing recommendations to Congress on how to improve the Medicare and Medicaid programs and lower prescription drug prices have access to important drug pricing data.
Plain and simple, the experts tasked with providing recommendations to Congress about this important issue need access to drug pricing data. Not only will access to this data help the commissions make better recommendations, it will also increase transparency in the entire drug pricing system. One of my top priorities is lowering prescription drug prices, and transparency will certainly help us do that.
I was glad to see this legislation receive support from members on both sides of the aisle, and I look forward to it continuing to move through Congress.
FROM OUR NATION’S CAPITOL CCIV
Monday, March 25: Yesterday afternoon I met with local insurance brokers Mike Maloy and Barry Murphy of St. Simons Island to learn about an innovative and cost saving approach to health care coverage that they have developed. I have a lot of respect for both of these gentlemen and the program they have established is in effect and working in the First District. They have also taken their story to state leaders with the hope that we follow this model on a state and federal level. This is yet another example of how innovation and competition can result in better care and lower costs in health care. Afterwards, I headed to Fort Frederica and met with Friends of Frederica, a non-profit partner of the National Park Service whose mission is to preserve and promote the future of Fort Frederica National Monument. Last month, after years of work, legislation was passed and signed into law increasing the boundaries of the monument from 250 acres to 305 acres. While I was honored to be recognized at the meeting for my role in this effort, the true credit goes to members of this great group for their advocacy efforts over the years. It is because of groups like this that national treasures like Fort Frederica will endure for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. This morning I’m at our Savannah district office where I meet with my good friend David Ruibnitz, a local insurance broker, to discuss the issue of surprise billing in health care. Next, I have a meeting with the President of the Savannah area Bank of America, Patrick O’Neil, before heading to downtown Savannah to meet with the new Executive Director of Telfair Museums, Robin Nicholson, and to tour the newly transformed Owens-Thomas House and Slave Quarters.
Afterwards, I head back to our Savannah district office to meet with a local retired couple to discuss their social security benefits as well as national issues they are interested in. Next, I meet with the Consul General of Mexico, Javier Diaz de Leon, who is based in Atlanta, to discuss the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) that is being proposed to replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that governs trade in North America.
Afterwards, I head to the airport for my return trip to Washington and once at the Capitol I head straight to a Doctors Caucus briefing on Medicare with Joel White, a former staff director and policy advisor for the Ways and Means Committee in the House. Next, I head to my office where I meet with representatives from MatchRx before doing an on-camera interview with WTOC in Savannah to discuss the Mueller report. After attending our weekly Whip Team meeting where we hear from the Chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, I head to the House Chamber for our first vote series of the week. Afterwards, I pay tribute to the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta.
Tuesday, March 26: My first meeting this morning is another Doctors Caucus where we hear from the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, who informs me that his mother was born and raised in Folkston in Charlton County. Afterwards, I head to our weekly GOP Conference meeting before heading back to my office for our weekly staff briefing.
Next, I head to the Capitol steps where I greet a group of eighth graders from Savannah Christian Preparatory School and then head back to my office for a meeting with American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) representatives including my good friends Rabbi Robert Haas and his wife, April.
Later, after our first and only vote series of the day, I head back to my office where I meet with America’s Blood Centers followed by a meeting with Richard Scarborough with Well Versed, Inc. My last meeting of the day is an Energy and Commerce (E&C) Health Subcommittee member meeting where we discuss the bills that will be considered at tomorrow’s mark up.
Wednesday, March 27: Our E&C Health Subcommittee markup starts at 10:00 a.m. this morning and, although we break twice for votes and I step out in the hallway a few times to meet with visiting groups, lasts until 7:30 p.m. During this time, we debate 12 bills dealing with prescription drug pricing and health care. The first four bills, including two that I am the lead sponsor of, are bipartisan and pass unanimously in less than an hour while the remaining eight bills and amendments are debated during the next 8.5 hours. During the time we break for our first vote series I participate in a House Energy Action Team (HEAT) press conference.
HEAT is a Republican coalition endorsing the development, deployment and efficient use of all-of-the-above energy resources. During the break for our second vote series I take time to film a Public Service Announcement with Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel. Among the groups that I step out of the meeting to meet with are Brunswick Job Corps, Independent Pharmacy Cooperative and representatives from Charlton County.
Thursday, March 28: I’m up early this morning and over at the studios of the Cable and Satellite Public Affairs Network (CSPAN) where I appear live to discuss health care and climate change.
Afterwards, I head back to the Capitol where I attend an organizational meeting of the Select Committee on Climate Change before heading to the House Chamber for our first and only vote series of the day. Next, I head back to my office where I meet with the Aircraft Carrier Industrial Base Coalition before meeting with my good friends from the Georgia Primary Care Association representing McKinney Medical Center, Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care and Diversity Health Center.
Afterwards, I head to the airport for my return trip home.
Friday, March 29: There’s no prettier place in the world than the First District during the springtime and today is a Chamber of Commerce Day - perfect weather. I start out with a visit to Savannah Arts Academy to meet with three winners of this year’s Congressional Art Competition and view their work. These talented students study under one of the finest arts teacher in our State, Steve Schetski, who for the past 29 years has taught and inspired students at Savannah Arts Academy.
Afterwards, I head to Savannah Country Day School to meet with another winner of the art competition and observe her work. Next, I head to our Savannah district office where I have an on-camera interview with Sharon Collins with Georgia Outdoors on Georgia Public Broadcasting to discuss climate change before heading down to Brunswick in Glynn County to the Southeast Georgia Health System for a roundtable discussion on maternal mortality. This is the second roundtable discussion I’ve held on this subject in the First District and the input I have received is invaluable in helping me better understand the problem. I finish my week with a visit to the Safe Harbor Children’s Center in Brunswick where I meet with executive director Leslie Hartman and her excellent staff for a tour of their impressive facility that was built by funds raised by the community. After meeting with some of the youth at the facility, one can only be impressed by the work that is being done here to change lives for the better.