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Posted by Randy | April 21, 2016

For any family, there is no greater loss than the loss of a loved one -- especially when that situation could have been avoided.

This is a feeling many families right here in our own communities understand all too well after losing their own mother, sibling, or child to a drug overdose. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), prescription drug overdoses kill nearly 15,000 people annually, reaching epidemic levels over the past decade. What is even more concerning is that the CDC also reports that heroin death rates have climbed 286% between 2002-2013, and evidence shows that users of opioid painkillers are 40 times more likely to be addicted to heroin.

We need to do more to fight against drugs in our communities. That’s why I have joined my colleagues to support the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which strengthens a variety of different treatment and prevention programs to combat heroin and opioid addiction. I also joined in sending a letter calling on the House Appropriations Committee to increase resources for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, which has been a critical asset to state and local law enforcement officers as they combat drug trafficking around Richmond and Hampton Roads.

Posted by Randy | January 29, 2016

Medical research is important to me not only because of the value that it brings to individuals and families, but for the potential it holds in terms of our economic engine and ability to compete globally. Medical research matters because it will define our future. Below is a brief roundup of some of my actions in Congress to ensure we are investing our time and resources efficiently and smartly:   

  • Prioritizing medical research with proven clinical success. I introduced the Patients First Act (H.R.2921), which prioritizes medical research that shows evidence of providing near-term clinical benefit for patients suffering from breast cancer, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and other diseases impacting so many Americans.
  • Supporting innovation and discovery. Our medical system will only be successful when it is driven by innovation and discovery, not bureaucracy. I believe the Food and Drug Administration’s drug approval process is bulky with bureaucracy and clogged with outdated regulations. Read more.
  • Addressing childhood cancer. Cancer in children is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy among children in the United States, according to data from the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. That’s why we need to be expanding opportunities for childhood cancer research. Read the bill I’m supporting to do just that, here.
  • Recognized as a Champion of Healthcare Innovation. It was an honor to be recognized as a “Champion of Healthcare Innovation” by The Healthcare Leadership Council for a strong voting record this past year in support of finding innovative healthcare solutions. Our healthcare system should focus not only on treating diseases, but also curing and preventing them.
I will keep you posted on the progress of these bills.

Posted by Randy | December 30, 2015
Wanted to let you know that I recently cosponsored the National Nurse Act, to designate the Chief Nurse Officer (CNO) of the U.S. Public Health Service as the “National Nurse for Public Health.” Similar to the Surgeon General, the National Nurse for Public Health would help raise awareness with the public about disease prevention and healthy living.

You can learn more about the bill and the role of the National Nurse for Public Health, here.

Posted by Randy | August 31, 2015
Patients must come before politics. That’s why I am cosponsoring a bill, H.R. 2400, to create a non-partisan Special Inspector General  for Monitoring of the Affordable Care Act (SIGMA).  SIGMA will audit and investigate all aspects of the Affordable Care Act, including the work of state governments and outside contractors.  Additionally, SIGMA will be completely independent from the executive branch and federal agencies to ensure the audits and investigations are objective, thorough, and accountable to the American people.

I will keep you posted on this bill’s progress.

Recently, I’ve also been working to repeal Obamacare’s tax on medical devices, which has been criticized for eliminating jobs and reducing investment in research, and to repeal Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is more commonly referred to as a Medicare rationing board. Earlier this year, the House voted 239-186 (with my support) to completely repeal Obamacare, as well as to instruct several committees to create a replacement for the disastrous healthcare law – a replacement structured around the idea that healthcare should not, and must not, come at the cost of crippling our economy and our job creators.
Posted by Randy | July 16, 2015
Millions of families across the country have felt the heartbreak of watching a loved one lose their independence as they suffer from Alzheimer’s.

That’s why I am proud to be cosponsoring the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which supports families and individuals who struggle with the costs of this disease by allowing Alzheimer’s diagnosis and informational services to be covered under Medicare. Take a look at the bill, here.
Posted by Randy | July 08, 2015

Wanted to update you briefly on some legislation that I thought you would be interested in. These bills, which recently passed the House or are scheduled to be voted on soon, help ensure our healthcare system is putting patients first and ensuring they get the quality care they need:

  • Protecting life-saving devices. The Protect Medical Innovation Act, H.R. 160, will repeal the 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers that has been criticized for eliminating jobs and reducing investment in research, including those crucial to the lives of seniors.
  • Defending access to Medicare. This bill, H.R. 1190, which passed the House, repeals the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) comprised of 15 presidentially appointed government bureaucrats tasked with cutting Medicare costs through cuts to providers, limiting access to care for seniors. 
  • Ensuring access to quality, low-cost prescription drug plans.  I supported the Increasing Regulatory Fairness Act, H.R. 2507, to alter the annual payment adjustment schedule for Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans so that plan sponsors and seniors have appropriate time to review any rate changes and provide feedback.
  • Promoting better health outcomes. I voted for the Strengthening Medicare Advantage through Innovation and Transparency for Seniors Act, H.R. 2570, which establishes a pilot program to determine how a reduction in high-value prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries can increase utilization and improve patient outcomes.
Seniors are more than just a group of people. They are our mothers, fathers, pastors, teachers, and mentors.  They have done so much for us, the least we can do is ensure they have access to quality care that is actually affordable and tailored to their unique needs.
Posted by Randy | July 08, 2015
Prioritizing medical research with proven clinical success for patients should be a no-brainer.

That is why I recently introduced the Patients First Act, which makes research that uses ethically obtained adult stem cells to treat and cure diseases afflicting many Americans a top priority. In recent years, incredible progress has been made in adult stem cell research, including the treatment of diseases such as spinal cord injury, breast cancer, Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States. These advances are clear evidence that stem cells can provide benefits to patients, while being ethically obtained. Importantly, this bill does not authorize any more funding – instead, it focuses existing funds on projects that prove to have the greatest benefits in treating patients.

Our message to our country needs to be crystal clear: patients come before politics. Prioritizing adult stem cell research that has the greatest potential for near-term clinical benefits is a move that makes sense for all Americans. Let’s put our patients first.
Posted by Randy | May 28, 2015
In case you missed it, today marked a critical next step in the House of Representatives’ lawsuit challenging the President’s healthcare law, as the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia heard arguments on the “motion to dismiss” filed by the Administration.

The arguments today addressed the threshold question of whether the House has a right to have its claims heard in federal court. The Administration is arguing that it does not. Why is this is so important? Because if the executive branch is able to spend public funds without an appropriation from Congress – as the Administration is doing – while Congress is excluded from challenging this action in federal court, then Congress’ “power of the purse” is all but meaningless. Congress’ decision making authority over funding federal programs is foundational to Congress’s ability to serve as a check to the powers of the executive branch and crucial to our government’s trisected division of power.

At the end of the day, the protection of the American peoples’ rights depends on the three branches of government’s ability to effectively check and balance one another. That is why this fight matters.

I will keep you posted.

Posted by Randy | April 21, 2015
Recently, I joined my Virginia colleagues in sending a letter to the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center demanding decisive action to address the unacceptable claims backlog. Specifically, we are requesting to know the immediate steps being taken to bring down wait times to the Department’s standards – including a detailed explanation of what is being done to increase responsiveness to patient inquiries and the timetable for resolving the backlog.

As the Congressional delegation representing nearly 368,000 veterans, we have an obligation to ensure our men and women in uniform are receiving the benefits they have earned in a timely manner. Our veterans did not wait to answer the call of duty; they should not have to wait to receive timely, quality medical care. They deserve the best this country can offer – not backlogs, bureaucracy, and blunders.

There is no higher purpose of our government than to protect those who sacrificed to preserve our freedom. Read the text of the letter, here.

I will keep you posted as we look for a reply from the VA. We made a promise to care for our men and women in uniform, and their families, long after their service is complete, and it is our duty to meet those obligations. 
Posted by Randy | March 13, 2015
Recently, I cosponsored the Ensuring Seniors Access to Local Pharmacies Act of 2015 (H.R.793) to help protect 4th District seniors who live in rural areas and depend upon the local community pharmacy nearest them.

Here’s how it works: While Medicare Part D preferred pharmacy network plans were created to help make prescription drugs more affordable, these plans have also unintentionally put some community pharmacies at a competitive disadvantage. Some seniors, especially in rural areas, have reported having to travel upwards of 20 miles in order to get their medications from a preferred pharmacy network because their local community pharmacy was not given the opportunity to participate in such a network.

This bill will help ensure seniors have better access to prescription medications while helping keep rural community pharmacies competitive with larger pharmacies, by allowing any willing pharmacy located within a designated medically underserved or health professional shortage area to participate in the Medicare Part D preferred network program. This helps reinforce and preserve the critical role that local pharmacies play in delivering care to our rural communities.

I will keep you posted on this bill as it progresses through the House.
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