Weekly Columns

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  • A Better Way To a Strong Economy
    Posted in Weekly Columns on September 7, 2016 | Preview rr

    On Monday, we observed Labor Day, a federal holiday that began as a way to honor the contributions and achievements of the American worker. According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has hovered around 4.9 percent for most of 2016, meaning many are still struggling to find work. Worse, many Americans – 94 million to be exact – have given up looking for work altogether. The labor-force participation rate is around 62 percent, the lowest since 197... Read more

  • Skyrocketing Premiums Further Proof Affordable Care Act is Unaffordable
    Posted in Weekly Columns on August 31, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last week, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance approved double-digit premium increases for Tennesseans who purchase their insurance through the exchanges created by Obamacare. These premium increases ranged from 44 percent to 62 percent, and Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak told The Tennessean these premium increases were necessary, in part, because the exchange market in Tennessee is “very near collapsing.” While the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must still approve t... Read more

  • Care Report Highlights Need for Changes at VA
    Posted in Weekly Columns on August 24, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last month the Commission on Care released their final report recommending ways Congress and the administration can make the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) work better for our nation’s veterans. The report was required by the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, a bill I helped negotiate. Throughout the August district work period, I’ve been studying the report and talking with veterans in East Tennessee. While many are pleased with the care they’ve received through the ... Read more

  • Democrats Blocking Zika Bills as the Virus Spreads
    Posted in Weekly Columns on August 10, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the first cases of locally-acquired Zika had been diagnosed in Miami, Florida. Up to this point, patients diagnosed with Zika in the United States had been infected while traveling, including 23 Tennesseans as of August 1. The cases diagnosed in Florida last week, however, were acquired locally. This is no longer just a concern to travelers; the Zika virus has arrived in the United States and we need to take action. U... Read more

  • An Update on the Fight Against Opioid Abuse
    Posted in Weekly Columns on July 27, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last year, the Tennessee Department of Health announced that opioid overdoses in the state of Tennessee had reached epidemic proportions. In 2014, at least 1,263 Tennesseans died of an overdose, meaning more Tennesseans died from drug overdoses than car accidents. As a physician, I know some patients need help managing pain, but we must ensure medications are prescribed responsibly and any unused or expired medications are disposed of properly. We also need to take steps to protect children in t... Read more

  • The Iran Deal Turns One
    Posted in Weekly Columns on July 13, 2016 | Preview rr

    When traveling throughout my district, I often discuss the many votes I've taken in Congress. Some votes are easy and noncontroversial. But others - like the vote on President Obama's Iran deal - keep me up at night because of what the outcome means for our country, and the world. Today, just one year after the Iran deal was announced, I find myself more concerned than ever about the safety and security of the United States. I was troubled from the beginning of the negotiating process when the a... Read more

  • Mental Health Care Reform
    Posted in Weekly Columns on July 6, 2016 | Preview rr

    Nearly 10 million Americans have a serious mental illness, but there is a shortage of nearly 100,000 psychiatric beds across the United States. Fifty years ago there were more than 500,000 inpatient psychiatric beds in this country; today there are less than 40,000. Despite the $130 billion investment the federal government makes in mental health care services, millions of Americans who have a mental illness are slipping through the cracks and not receiving the treatment they need. Over the last... Read more

  • A Better Way to Reform Health Care
    Posted in Weekly Columns on June 29, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last week, as part of House Republicans’ ongoing effort to present bold, real solutions for some of the most pressing issues our country is facing to the American people, the Health Care Task Force rolled out a better way to reform the American health care system. As you know, before coming to Congress, I spent my career caring for patients as an OBGYN. Treating patients isn’t political – I never once saw a Republican or Democrat disease while practicing medicine – and health care reform shouldn... Read more

  • Roe: It’s Important We’re Clear-Eyed About the Enemy We’re Facing in ISIS
    Posted in Weekly Columns on June 22, 2016 | Preview rr

    Last week, an Islamic terrorist carried out the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since September 11th, and I continue to send my thoughts and prayers to the citizens of Orlando as they bury their loved ones and begin the long road to recovery. My heart is heavy for the innocent victims, their families and the entire city of Orlando. After a horrific event like this, it’s important we unite to examine our policies to ensure we’re doing everything in our power to keep Americans safe. As... Read more

  • Keeping Americans Safe at Home and Abroad
    Posted in Weekly Columns on June 15, 2016 | Preview rr

    Early last Sunday morning, 49 innocent people were robbed of their lives when a gunman entered a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The gunman, who I will not name, allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS during and prior to this horrific act. An attack on one American is an attack on all Americans - no matter their political party affiliation, religion, socio-economic status or sexual orientation – and I continue to keep the victims and their families, first responders, law enforcement and the entire ... Read more