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115th Congress Gavels into Session with Big Aspirations

Congress has gaveled back into session beginning yesterday with the honorary swearing in of House and Senate members on Tuesday. The Republican controlled House and Senate have big aspirations to pass policies that they ran on with the key points of: replacing Obamacare, securing the border, and enacting policies that are outlined in what Republican leadership has branded “A Better Way,” listing their priorities. The GOP has not controlled Congress and the Executive branch since 2006 during President Bush’s second term. Meaning, Republicans hope to make the most of the November elections.

Tom Powers was in Washington D.C. during the ceremonies and met with multiple congressional offices today to get a feel for the methods in which Congress is looking to replace the ACA. Yesterday Tom had the chance to meet with many high-ranking Senators including, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and others.

Congressional Democrats, while they are in the minority, have been openly against of the policy reach that the GOP hopes to obtain. On the front burner of Congress is healthcare, including the repealing and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats argue that the ACA cannot simply be thrown away and then the newly insured people go without insurance again. Republicans continue to argue that costs are out-of-control and premiums are on the rise, so it must be fixed.

In addition to the ACA, sustainability of Medicare and Medicaid are also likely going to be a battle on Capitol Hill. As more and more Americans become eligible for Medicare, the Congress will need to address costs, and using dollars more efficiently rather than slashing rates. This is something that Rep. Tom Price, HHS Secretary nominee, has advocated for on Capitol Hill, and something that home medical equipment providers and patients have first-hand experience with.