On Wednesday I traveled to Normandy, France, to honor the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6th, 1944, future President and Kansan, General Dwight D. Eisenhower gave the command for Allied forces to invade German-occupied Europe. During the initial invasion 2,499 Americans selflessly gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy. The world owes them a debt that can never be repaid.
I am grateful to be able to participate and pay homage at this solemn event to the heroes who risked everything and gave their lives fighting for a better world. This anniversary serves as a reminder of the cost of liberty and of our continued responsibility to protect it like those who came before us.
Abilene native Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s D-Day Message
Talking Trade in France
My time in France included meetings with the French Parliament and European trade representatives. I have previously expressed my frustration with European Union Ambassadors’ unwillingness to include agriculture in trade negotiations between the U.S. and EU.
The European Union is one of Kansas’s top trade partners and a crucial market for Kansas beef, pork and soybeans. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. domestic exports of agricultural products to the EU totaled $11.5 billion in 2016. That means the EU countries together would rank fourth as an agricultural export market for the U.S.
In my meetings Friday with French officials, I continued to advocate for the inclusion of agriculture goods in a future trade deal. It is crucial that in this difficult time for Kansas producers, Congress make agriculture a priority and do everything in its power provide open, fair markets for farmers to sell their goods.
Democrats Block Born Alive Protections
On Monday, I gave a speech demanding that the Born Alive Survivors Protection Act be brought to the house floor for a vote, only to once again be rejected by anti-life Democrats. The Born Alive Survivors Protection Act would provide protections to babies that survive botched abortions and ensure that they receive the immediate medical care they desperately need. To date, 198 Republicans and 3 Democrats have signed the petition demanding a vote. I find it hard to understand why this legislation should even need to debated, yet my Democratic colleagues continue to reject it outright. I have spent my entire professional career fighting for the lives of babies as an OB-GYN. I would have never thought that the fight would be harder in Congress than in the delivery room.
Disaster Aid Is On Its Way
This week Congress passed much needed disaster relief legislation, allocating $19.1 billion to help Americans struggling to recover from the catastrophic storms and flooding that we have seen in Kansas and across the country.
On May 26, the President declared an Emergency Declaration for the State of Kansas, which at this time includes 18 counties but more are under consideration for addition. Ensuring that our communities have the tools and resources needed to recover from the severe flooding is essential, and this aid package will provide assistance to farmers and families who are impacted.
This legislation specifically allocates $3 billion dollars to the USDA to distribute to farmers and ranchers who have been impacted, covering farmers for loss of stored product as well as compensation for those whose land has been damaged by the weather.
Health Innovation Roundtable
This week I organized a health innovation roundtable with 20 innovators in the health industry, pioneering new techniques to deliver quality and cost saving care. From tech titans and small business entrepreneurs to investors, each participant shared their projects and business models. We discussed what federal road blocks exist that hinders their ability to advance, and what potential new avenues could be utilized in Medicare coverage and reimbursement.
While I would love to list them all, I would like to highlight is the great work of Dr. Josh Umbehr with Atlas MD, a Kansas based direct primary care practice. Dr. Umbehr, who has testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee and has been recognized at the national level, specializes in a “Netflix” like model that makes the patient their primary focus aligns all other incentives for cost and quality care around that centerpiece. A resounding success, he asked that Congress consider allowing direct primary care as an allowable expense under Health Savings Accounts, a concept which I fully support.
A special shout out to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for joining us for this special event!
As a member of the GOP Doctors Caucus as well as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee’s Healthcare Task Force, I am tasked with developing market-based solutions that would reduce the cost health care. I will continue to keep you updated as we further develop these policy proposals.
Improving Continuity of Care for America’s Seniors
Since last Congress, I’ve been working with Reps. Mike Kelly and Suzan DelBene in drafting a bill that would enable physicians to better serve their patients by streamlining a dreaded issue – prior authorization. Prior authorization is the pre-approval process that healthcare providers must go through before performing a procedure or prescribing a medication, and is long overdue for an update to address the needs of physicians and patients. After many drafts and receiving input from Kansans, Reps. Suzan DelBene, Mike Kelly, myself, and Ami Bera, introduced H.R. 3107, the “Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2019. This bill would improve the prior authorization process in Medicare Advantage plans through common-sense transparency, electronic adoption, and an analysis on the items and services subject to prior authorization.
I will always be a physician at heart, and my work towards helping improve the care that patients receive is the work I am most proud of. This bipartisan legislation will make the lives of patients and their families better.
To learn more, please see the joint press release HERE.
Before heading to the airport I got a chance to speak with representatives from the Kansas Bankers Association. We touched on how important local banking institutions are for growing rural communities and the importance of increasing credit opportunities in these rural areas. They also got me up to speed on all the work that their industry is doing in order to protect the privacy data of Kansan consumers. As a former community bank board member I understand the importance of the work that they are doing, and look forward to working with them to ensure that Kansans have access to the services that they need to prosper.
Kansas Building Industry Association
A delegation from the Kansas Building Industry Association made it to my DC office this Wednesday, and I was glad that we had the opportunity to discuss their issues in between votes.
Workforce development remains an issue that so many industries around Kansas are facing. Labor shortages can lead to higher costs for consumers, which for the building industry can mean increased home prices, delays in production schedules, and lower economic growth. I take these issues very seriously and am committed to making sure that we have the workforce we need for Kansas to thrive.
New Summer Interns in DC
In our office this summer we are excited to have 3 new interns with us. We love being able to bring more Kansans to Washington. Our three new interns are Sarah Mauler, Lacey Pitts, and Wyatt Rugan.
Sarah is from Great Bend and is a senior at Kansas State University majoring in Human Resource Management, Wyatt, also from Great Bend, is a junior at the University of Kansas majoring in Accounting and Lacey is a former K-State student from Buhler. We could not be more excited to welcome these interns to Capitol Hill.
Dr. Roger Marshall, R-Great Bend, is the First District Kansas Congressman.