Improving Rural Health Care
Holding a roundtable meeting in Bend with doctors, patients, and disease advocates to discuss the 21st Century Cures Act
Working to improve access to affordable health care, especially in rural communities, has long been a priority of mine. Before I ran for Congress, I was a member of the Hood River Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and the Oregon Health Sciences University Foundation Board. As a Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee now, I’ve listened to what constituents, doctors, stakeholders, hospitals, care providers, and disease advocates alike have to say about the direction our nation’s health care is headed.
Boosting medical research and accelerating cures
In our increasingly connected world where innovation happens at lightning speed, health research is moving quickly. But government regulations for approval of new drugs and devices are not keeping pace with the science for some of these breakthrough cures. We can do better. I’m proudly supported the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan initiative to streamline the process for new medical treatments to help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures. I also authored the FDA Reauthorization Act, which is now the law of the land and will bring new treatments, medical devices, and drugs to patients sooner.
Combating mental illness and drug addiction in our communities
Mental illness and drug addiction touch every segment of our communities, no matter where you live or what you look like. I am a strong supporter of two bills that are now law that will deliver help quickly to those who need it. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was signed into law by President Obama, expands access to care and prevention services in our communities, establishes best practices that will help prevent lawful prescription use from spiraling into abuse, and gives new tools to law enforcement and prevention advocates to combat the epidemic of painkillers and heroin. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which was included in the landmark 21st Century Cures Act, reforms the 112 federal programs that address mental health, allows families to better work with health care professionals to care for loved ones, increases access to inpatient care.
Delivering vital care to seniors
Receiving care at home gives seniors more control over their health care and provides a sense of comfort, familiarity, and normalcy for patients and their loved ones. Especially in parts of rural Oregon where access to physicians can be limited, Oregon’s seniors should be able to get their care in a timely fashion without having to choose between receiving health care and remaining in his or her home. I have long worked to support and expand home health services for rural communities.
Protecting Medicare and Social Security
I helped pass a law to prevent a drastic spike in Medicare premiums and to ensure that doctors are paid fairly under Medicare so that seniors get access to the care they need from the providers they know and trust. We’ve also protected Social Security disability recipients, who would have faced a 20 percent across-the- board cut this year if Congress hadn’t acted. And I’ll continue to oppose plans to cut cost of living adjustments for today’s Social Security recipients.
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