Weekly Columns

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  • Keeping the Promise to Repeal Obamacare
    Posted in Weekly Columns on January 11, 2017 | Preview rr

    Almost seven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law. President Obama promised this law would expand access to and lower the cost of health insurance coverage, but almost every promise the president made about Obamacare has since been broken. Americans were promised they could keep their doctors and the health coverage they had if they liked them, but many could not. In the meantime, the individuals and families who have tried to get coverage under ... Read more

  • VA Reform is a Top Priority in New Congress
    Posted in Weekly Columns on January 4, 2017 | Preview rr

    This week, I returned to Washington to be sworn in to the 115th Congress. Serving East Tennesseans in Congress is a true privilege, and I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee as chairman. This is not a responsibility I take lightly and I realize there is much work to be done on behalf of our heroes, which is why House Republicans didn’t waste any time getting started. In the first days of the new Congress, House Republicans reaffirmed on our commitm... Read more

  • Merry Christmas
    Posted in Weekly Columns on December 21, 2016 | Preview rr

    This weekend, Christians around the world will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While Christmas is a special celebration of faith, I know this time of year can be difficult for many. As we gather together with family and friends, it’s important to remember those who are less fortunate and may not have the same blessings as we do. I also say a special prayer each holiday for the men and women who are serving our country and cannot be with their families. These heroes make... Read more

  • Tennesseans Are Ready for a New Direction
    Posted in Weekly Columns on December 14, 2016 | Preview rr

    Although the year is coming to a close, I’m excited about the opportunity to get to work next year with President-elect Trump. Our priorities include repealing Obamacare and putting in place patient-centered reforms, securing our borders, protecting our country, supporting policies that will foster economic growth and job creation, getting our fiscal house in order and working to make the VA a place where our heroes can access the services they’ve earned – just to name a few. We’ve certainly got... Read more

  • The Time for 21st Century Cures is Now
    Posted in Weekly Columns on December 7, 2016 | Preview rr

    This week, the Senate – following the House vote last week – passed the 21st Century Cures Act. This important legislation will provide critical funding to help find new treatments and cures for diseases; address the opioid crisis we’re seeing around the country; and make important reforms to our mental health care system. I was glad to support this bipartisan bill because I strongly believe this legislation will help many Tennesseans. As a physician, I treated patients for more than 30 years. W... Read more

  • Weekly Column: Sevier County
    Posted in Weekly Columns on November 30, 2016 | Preview rr

    On Monday evening, the Gatlinburg community was hit hard by wildfires that spread from the Great Smoky Mountain National Parks into downtown Gatlinburg. The devastating fires burned more than 15,000 acres of Sevier County, and, as of Wednesday afternoon, claimed the lives of at least seven Tennesseans. Hundreds of people lost their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. On Tuesday afternoon I joined Governor Haslam, Superintendent Cash, Mayor Waters, Mayor Werner, City Manager Ogle, State Represen... Read more

  • Giving Thanks
    Posted in Weekly Columns on November 23, 2016 | Preview rr

    Thanksgiving is a special time for Americans to give thanks for the blessings in our lives. We have much to be thankful for. Each and every holiday I pause to reflect on the sacrifices of the brave men and women who often spend special occasions away from their families because they are working to protect the freedoms we hold dear. I say a prayer for all our servicemembers and their families, especially those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Last year, I had the great privilege of spending ... Read more

  • It’s Time to Put the Pen Down, Mr. President
    Posted in Weekly Columns on November 16, 2016 | Preview rr

    “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone, and I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward. So one of the things I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans.” This infamous statement made by President Obama in early 2014 made it clear that the president was determined to push his agenda t... Read more

  • Veterans Day
    Posted in Weekly Columns on November 2, 2016 | Preview rr

    Veterans Day is an important celebration of service, a time for our nation to honor the men and women who have defended our country to protect the freedoms we hold dear. Since coming to Congress, I have proudly served on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and I take the commitment we’ve made to veterans and their families very seriously. In the aftermath of Vietnam, I experienced firsthand a nation that did not respect the sacrifices made by soldiers who were asked or told to go to war, and ... Read more

  • Obamacare: An Abysmal Failure
    Posted in Weekly Columns on October 26, 2016 | Preview rr

    Just days after President Obama gave another speech touting the success of his health care law while blaming Republicans for its failures, the Obama administration confirmed premiums for the average insurance plan on the exchange will increase an average of 22 percent. Additionally, roughly 1 in 5 consumers will have only one health insurance provider to choose from. In Tennessee, things are looking even worse. Exchange beneficiaries will see their premiums increase an average of 56 percent if t... Read more