Healthcare dominates Blackburn's district discussions

Healthcare dominates Blackburn's district discussions
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

BOLIVAR, TN (WMC) - Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn hit the roads this week, traveling through her district to meet with constituents regarding a variety of topics. By the end of the tour, she will have covered her entire seventh District; including five West Tennessee counties.

Through all of her stops, healthcare was the primary topic that dominated the discussions.

Blackburn discussed the passage of the SOFTWARE Act out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

"It was a huge win that it came out of the committee on a voice vote," Blackburn told a gathering of health professionals at HomeChoice Health Care in Bolivar, Tennessee on Thursday.

The SOFTWARE Act, authored by Blackburn with Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) in October, defines three categories of health software. The SOFTWARE Act stipulates only specific medical software requires FDA approval, preventing FDA from regulating or being involved in all medical apps currently being used on smartphones by the consumer.

"Getting bureaucracy out of the way and allowing innovation is the goal of the SOFTWARE Act. The SOFTWARE Act will codify the manner in which the FDA approaches health IT - including the wonderful apps that we all use to keep us healthy. Data is not a drug or device and it makes no sense to regulate it as such. However obvious that is, it hasn't stopped the FDA from trying to make medical device law fit health IT. We need to modernize the FDA authorities to reflect the new technology that is health IT," Blackburn said.

The SOFTWARE Act makes the distinction between FDA regulating what is an actual medical device and individuals using apps to help improve their health and well being.

In addition to the SOFTWARE Act, Blackburn discussed affordable healthcare options as well as veteran healthcare.

"Healthcare is changing and evolving. We're very concerned with what's going on with the costs of insurance and the increasing costs of deductibles," Blackburn said. "Replacing the Affordable Healthcare Act because it's not so affordable is what we have to do."

Blackburn said she wants the Affordable Healthcare Act to be repealed and replaced with the American Healthcare Choice Act, which provides (among other things), the ability to open the marketplace across state lines.

"Opening up the marketplace across state lines gives people portability. It'll cut down the cost of healthcare," Blackburn said.

In reference to veteran care, Blackburn said she has been working on the VA Choice program. She said the veterans that are enrolled in it have told her they like it, despite a few problems that need to be ironed out.

"The VA Choice is for long term care and for everyday services. It's got a couple of glitches so I'm on my second wave now," Blackburn said.

Blackburn said she is working on allowing veterans, among other changes and corrections to some problems with the program, to be able to use their military card as an insurance card and go to the provider of their choice.

"People that get into Choice are loving it, but they are having to live in both worlds (Choice and VA) for a while. I am working to make it where they can make that straight transition," Blackburn said. "At least we got it on the books."

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