I have long said, in order to fix our broken health care system, we must focus on solutions that prioritize transparency, innovation, and consumerism.
This week I introduced H.R. 2183, The State Flexibility and Patient Choice Act of 2019, this legislation aims to give more power to states so that they have the freedom to develop programs and policies that will focus on cost and patient choice.
As a physician who helped run a hospital for many years, I saw first-hand the hassle that people went through to get the care they needed and the added stress that hospitals and doctors were under doing hours of paperwork for a single patient.
I believe that each state has unique needs and demands and shouldn’t be forced to fit a one-size-fits-all model. This bill lets Kansans make health care decisions for Kansans by eliminating arbitrary guard rails but still mandates that each state possess a plan that will not increase the federal deficit and provide coverage to the same number of citizens in order to get a waiver. This bill also Continues to protect those with pre-existing conditions.
My goal is to help get more people covered and drive down the cost for patients in the process.
So far this year I’ve done nearly 20 town halls. At every stop Kansans have told me, ENOUGH of this. Kansans have had it with the Mueller Investigation. I hear you message loud and clear- people are sick of the Russia-mania, Trump tax return pursuit, and all of the Mueller back and forth. I stand with you, I have had enough of it too.
We could accomplish way more if members would focus on actual solutions and solving real problems rather the fantasies. I am embarrassed at how little this Congress has achieved. This week I addressed the House floor to say -ENOUGH- to my colleagues, some I believe need a reminder that we are here to fix problems not create them.
Talking Trade with China
On Wednesday, I had a productive meeting with Minister Xu of the Chinese embassy. We discussed the US-China relationship and recent progress made by the Trump Administration towards securing a trade deal.
Over the past two years I’ve supported the Trump administration’s efforts to solidify a free and reciprocal trade agreement with China. My conversation with Minister Xu was centered around the high quality beef, grain, and other agriculture exports that hard working Kansans produce every day. Minister Xu expressed her belief that our trade agreement can be a win-win deal for both countries, and to this I absolutely agree.
Looking ahead, I’m hopeful and optimistic that any long-term deal reached with China will include an increase in agriculture purchases. Free trade and access to foreign export markets are vital to our Kansas producers and manufacturers.
It has been made very clear to China that the days of the United States ignoring issues within our trade agreements are over. Congress and this Administration are working around the clock to address the shortcomings in our trade agreements and create better and more efficient deals so that our farmers and ranchers no longer get the short end of the stick.
4-H Helping Our Young Leaders Since 1903
I had the great pleasure to sit down with Jacob Schmeidler from Hays, Erin Rose May from Oberlin, Rachel Yenni from Lindsborg, Adelaide Easter from Salina, and Camden Bull from Wichita. We were also joined by Susan Schlichting from Hays, Kansas, who volunteered to chaperone their trip to D.C. for the National 4-H Conference this week.
In our meeting, we talked about the 4-H program and the great work that 4-H does for our young men and women. 4-H was started in 1903 and now has nearly 75,000 members across the state of Kansas. Following our discussion, the 4-Hers joined our team for a night tour of the Capitol.
I was impressed; each of them shared with me their current studies, their goals, and how 4-H has helped them develop life skills and become influential leaders. From examining mental health to promoting entrepreneurship, and ways to end bullying each student presented forward-thinking solutions to improve their communities. This program does an incredible job of developing students leadership and professional skills.
I am excited to see you all succeed and follow your success, and thank you, Susan, for supporting our future leaders!
NASA Selects WSU Professor
In case you missed it, the first ever image of a black hole’s event horizon was released earlier this week. In the wake of this monumental achievement I want to take a moment to congratulate those who accomplished this achievement, and also talk about some of the great space-related work being done in Kansas.
As many of you know I am a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, which has oversight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Recently, NASA selected Nickolas Solomey of Wichita State University to receive funding for his project to develop a solar neutrino spacecraft detector. The project seeks to build a device that will be able to detect neutrinos in our Sun’s orbit, and eventually this technology will be included on a spaceflight probe. It’s a great opportunity for Wichita State, and this sort of innovation keeps America at the forefront of air and space technology. You can read more about his project here.
Ice Cold Delicious Beer
The Kansas Beer Wholesalers Association came through the office on Tuesday to give us an update on the work they’re doing not only in my district but across the state. With Congress moving closer toward an infrastructure package, we talked about the importance of road and bridge maintenance not only in their line of work, but also as we work to get other Kansas commodities to market. Our Kansas beer distributors help ensure that products make it from the manufacturer to the retailer, and ultimately (ice cold) into the hands of Royals or Chiefs fans across Kansas for enjoyment during a big game!
Updates from Kansas Housing Authority
Last fall I visited the Salina Housing Authority, there I met with Executive Director Tina Bartlett. Tina and I discussed challenges facing the housing authority and gave me a tour of a couple of their housing properties. It was great to get out and see how the housing authority operates and see firsthand some of the challenges they’re working to address.
Following up on our last visit they dropped by the office this week to give us an update. We had a great conversation about public housing, housing choice vouchers, and community development. Housing is an important part of community and economic development, especially in Kansas. Whether it’s thinking through how to attract new businesses or ways that small towns across my district can maintain safe, reliable and affordable housing is a key part of those conversations. I appreciate the hard work these various housing authorities and others like them are doing across the Big First.
Pharmacists Support Trump’s Plan to Eliminate Unfair Kickbacks
Kansans Pharmacists flew in this past week to discuss the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act and the Trump Administration’s proposal to get rid of unfair kickbacks to PBMs that harm Medicare beneficiaries, the Medicare Trust, and pharmacists!
Across Kansas, there are 506 chain drug stores and 253 independent community pharmacists and 99 of those local pharmacies are across the Big First. The increase of DIR fees over the last several years has raised out-of-pocket costs for our seniors and put our pharmacies at financial risk, often operating in negative margins. Far too regularly pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs collect DIR fees from pharmacies months and months after the claim. It’s completely unpredictable and unfair… while the benefit all goes to the pocket of the PBM.
The National Community Pharmacist Association and Kansas Pharmacists Association are completely supportive of the Trump’s Administration proposal to stop this from happening. The Trump Administration plan guarantees predictability by standardizing the process and end the disparity between pharmacists, patients and PBMs. It is estimated the beneficiaries could save anywhere from $7 to $9 billion over the span of ten years. Additionally, the government could save $17 billion.
ALSO A HUGE SHOUT OUT TO fellow Kansan Brian Caswell, R.Ph., of Baxter Springs was elected to be the next President of the National Community Pharmacists Association!
Honoring a Fierce Nutrition Advocate and Friend
This week, The Global Child Nutrition Foundation awarded U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern the 2019 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award for Child Nutrition. This award recognized Rep. McGovern extraordinary contributions in helping to end hunger and improve nutrition around the globe.
In particular, the foundation highlighted his work with Senator Bob Dole on the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. The McGovern-Dole, introduced in 2002, supports education, child development and nutritious meals in low-income, food-deficit countries around the world.
Almost 20 years ago, McGovern and Dole called upon our farmers to help improve conditions in more than 20 low-income countries. Today farmers continue to answer their call to help children far and wide receive nutritious meals.
The program provides U.S. agricultural commodities and financial assistance to support, feed, and educate millions of children across the world. As a Physician and now a leader of the Food is Medicine Caucus in Congress, I have always been impressed by the great bipartisan forward-thinking solutions that McGovern has proposed to address hunger.
I was glad to attend the award ceremony this week, honoring my friend, Jim McGovern.
Dr. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, is the Kansas First District Congressman.