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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Roe in Newport
US Congressman Phil Roe, Republican of the First District, was in Newport Tuesday evening for a town hall meeting. About 40 people attended the forum. Earlier in the day, he visited Parrottsville Elementary School, and the Newport DAV. The congressman expressed concern about the issues that rural communities in East Tennessee are facing, saying they are under siege. He said 60 percent of rural counties in the US have lost population in recent years. Roe said educating young people is the key to keeping them at home, adding that when hospitals close businesses leave as well. He said Medicare bases it's reimbursement rate on the wage scale in the community and so those communities with high wages get higher pay for medical services. The congressman said rural areas have an older population, and hospitals tend to see a higher percentage of Medicaid patients. That is what has led to the closure of a number of rural hospitals. Roe also talked about immigration issues, describing the situation on the southern border as "awful". He charged that because Congress did not provide the needed money for detention beds, there is no place to put immigrants. But he said Mexican cartels make as much money smuggling individuals into the US, as they make bringing in drugs. Roe who chairs the House Veterans Committee said funding for the care of veterans has been hiked dramatically. "We spend more money in the United States on our veterans than all the other countries in the world put together." The current budget earmarks $220 billion for veterans. He said with regard to healthcare the primary issues are accessibility and affordability. He said a proposal to allow the purchase of prescriptions from Canada is good so long as the drugs are approved by the FDA. The congressman said most of the generic drugs prescribed in the US are manufactured outside of the country. In response to audience questions, Roe said he was not familiar with plans by the US Forest Service to conduct logging and other activities without public notice. He promised to explore that proposal. Efforts are underway to allow insurance companies to write policies that do not cover pre-existing medical conditions. The congressman said some states have established high-risk pool coverage that kicks in to address catastrophic medical issues. With regard to the increased incidence of mass shootings in the US, Roe said he has no answers. He did say an increased mental health review would decrease the accessibility of weapons to those with mental health issues. He said an associated issue has to do with the decreased number of mental health beds, and so many of those with such issues end up being held in jail. The congressman also called for increased training for teachers so they will spot prospective mental health issues. There also are issues with the easy access to guns in some states where a purchase is made so the gun can be taken to another state with strict gun laws, where it can be sold. The lawmaker also was told that banks in Tennessee pay more than $600 million in federal taxes each year while credit unions are exempt from the tax, creating an uneven playing field. Roe said he doesn't expect that issue to be addressed in congress because "it is politically impossible."


Return to Today's News Stories - Front Page

Monday, August 19, 2019

  • Jefferson County fatality
  • Cocke County pursuit
  • Weisend assault

    Friday, August 16, 2019

  • Governors Rural Opportunity Summit
  • Motorcycle crash
  • Cocke County fire and marijuana
  • Jobless numbers in July
  • West is executed

    Thursday, August 15, 2019

  • Carver's Apple House damaged
  • Cocke County Grand Jury
  • Inmates charged
  • Governor's Rural Opportunities Summit
  • Endangered Species Act

    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

  • Newport City Council
  • Cocke County Finance Committee

    Tuesday, August 13, 2019

  • Williams injury
  • Large barn/apartment destroyed by fire
  • Tennessee tourism continues to grow
  • Gas prices continue to drop
  • Hembree incident
  • Abortion bill
  •    

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