Dr. Boozman's Check-up
November is National Hospice Month, a perfect time to recognize dozens of hospice organizations and the exceptional end-of-life care they provide to Arkansans.
Every year, more than 1.58 million Americans living with life-limiting illnesses, and their families, receive care from the nation’s hospice programs in communities throughout the United States.
My family understands the value of hospice care. Thanks to hospice, we were at my mom’s side as she spent her final weeks in comfort, home in Fort Smith, with caring professionals managing her pain.
It was a blessing to support my mom in those final weeks, and we are forever thankful for the caring professionals that make hospice their calling.
Hospice care has grown increasingly in recent years because it improves quality of life at a reduced cost, but that growth may soon come to a halt. Hospice providers face unforeseen challenges created by Obamacare, which cuts Medicare reimbursements for hospice care and creates a new, inflexible face-to-face requirement for Medicare hospice patients.
That is why I am cosponsoring the HELP Hospice Act (S.722), which would require the government to create a two-year, 15-site demonstration program for payment reform to ensure that providers are not shortchanged by Medicare payment restructuring. The bill would also amend the new face-to-face encounter requirement to reflect operational realities for hospice programs and the needs of the patients and families they serve. These reforms would ensure Arkansas’s small and rural hospices are not forced to turn down patients who are most in need because of operational constraints that larger hospice organizations in higher populated areas may not face.
As National Hospice Month comes to a close this week, it is important to recognize the vital care that hospice groups provide. We must do more to ensure that this invaluable service remains available to families and caretakers of Americans in the final stage of their lives.
Nov 24 2012
Why fight traffic at the malls or wait in long crowded lines at the big box stores for deals that don’t always turn out to be as good as promised when you can return your dollars to your local economy by shopping at local small businesses?
Today is Small Business Saturday, a national initiative to encourage support of our local businesses during the holiday season. Small businesses, including smaller retailers, are the heart of our economy. Money spent in our local communities gets reinvested, draws attention to local merchants and could ultimately create more new jobs. Over the past two decades, small business owners have created more than 65 percent of the new jobs in the United States and they employ about half of all private sector employees. At a time when our economy is struggling to create jobs, Small Business Saturday is an excellent campaign to help push economic development in our own communities.
This is the third year small retailers across America will be participating in “Small Business Saturday.” The previous two years have been a big success, thanks in large part to Arkansans recognizing the importance of our local, independently-owned merchants. So let’s pump up our local economies by participating in Small Business Saturday once again.
Nov 22 2012
Nov 16 2012
Our wounded warriors, service members, veterans, family members and their caregivers face unique challenges. Whether it is transitioning to the life after service or coping with significant lifelong injuries, our veterans endure an enormous amount of stress. This is often compounded by a bureaucracy that delays and prevents them from getting the help they need.
To help cut through all this clutter, Congress directed the departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs to create the National Resource Directory (NRD). This website provides access to thousands of programs and services at the national, state
and local levels on topics such as benefits and compensation, health care access, education, employment, and much more. It is a simple, comprehensive and official resource for the wounded warrior, veteran and military communities.
I encourage veterans in search of benefits or services to check out the NRD. It is a very useful resource.
Additionally, if you are need of assistance on a personal matter with the Department of Veterans Affairs, such as trouble with disability pay or access to health care, my office stands ready to help. Please contact my assistant, Diane Holm, who works with veterans to resolve these types of problems. Diane works in my Jonesboro office and can be reached at (870) 268-6925.
Nov 15 2012
In this edition of “From the Mailbag” Senator Boozman discusses sequestration and the concerns of extreme cuts to our military. “We can’t have arbitrary across the board cuts. We’ve got to quit spending as much but we have to target the waste,” Boozman says. The senator discusses efforts underway in Congress to cut spending. This is a major topic that lawmakers will be working to resolve during the lame duck session. Watch this edition here.
Nov 13 2012
Now that the election is behind us, and Congress remains divided, the need for bipartisanship on veterans’ issues is vital. The core functions of government, including providing for our veterans and their families, should not be subjected to political gamesmanship.
This is the message of an opinion piece I authored for The Hill that ran this weekend as part of a package of lawmaker’s tributes to veterans. You can read the piece in its entirety here.
It is important that lawmakers recognize that Americans are sick and tired of procedural tricks and legislative slight-of-hand to cast one party in opposition to principles that we all support. We’ve seen this too often lately from the Majority and unfortunately that trend has even found its way into veterans’ issues, which is an area where we have traditionally come together. It is my hope that we can move beyond the divisive tactics and work to help our veterans in constructive bipartisan manner.
Nov 08 2012
**UPDATED on 12/12/12: Arkansans interested in attending the 2013 Inauguration can can get information on how to obtain tickets for the Presidential ball and parade by visiting the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s website at 2013pic.org. At this time, our requests have exceeded our ticket availability.**
These two sites provide a vast amount of historical information and as we get closer to the Inauguration will include information specific to the 2013 Inauguration and logistical information for those that will be attending the event.
Arkansans interested in attending the 2013 Inauguration can contact my office to request tickets. Please include the following information: first and last name, address, email, phone number, passes requested, and any additional information. Due to the highly anticipated volume of requests, this email does not guarantee you tickets, but will place your name on the list. Due to limited quantities, we can only accept requests from residents of Arkansas.
Please email my assistant, Teah Franklin (email@example.com), to place your request or for more information.
If you are interested in tours while in Washington, DC, please visit this page for information and to make a tour request.
Oct 23 2012
We joined KASU’s Mark Smith this morning to discuss some important topics facing our nation such as sequestration and potential military cuts, tax rates and the need to reform the tax code, veterans’ health care benefits and the farm bill. Listen to the discussion here.
Oct 18 2012
In this edition of “From the Mailbag” Senator Boozman discusses the importance of the Farm Bill and what must be included in the legislation to get his support. The uncertainty for Arkansas farmers and ranchers “really does impact the economy,” Boozman says. The senator also discusses drought relief and the need to eliminate the renewable fuel standard. Boozman is committed to working to get an equitable farm bill passed in the lame duck session that begins in November. Watch this edition here.
Oct 16 2012
Earlier this month, Senator Boozman sat down with Roby Brock of Talk Business for an Internet-televised interview based on questions he solicited from Arkansans via email and social media.
The thirty-minute segment featured questions on the farm bill, ethanol subsidies, the Veterans Jobs Corp Act, the fiscal cliff, postal reform, deepening the Arkansas River and the state highway funding ballot initiative.
Among the highlights:
- On the farm bill, Boozman believes a compromise can be reached after the election. “At the end of the day, we are going to get it done this year. It is vital to the state of Arkansas. It is vital to our farmers. This is one of the things putting a wet blanket on the economy. I was with a young farmer the other day and he wants to buy a tractor. He can’t do that because he doesn’t know what the rules are going to be for the next five years. As a result, he is not going to take out a loan, he is not going to buy a tractor and an implement dealer will not be able to make a profit in a small community in Arkansas.”
- On the misinformation surrounding the “Veterans Jobs Corp Bill,” Boozman said liberal talk show host Rachel Maddow was responsible for the claims that he helped write it when in fact it was a Democrat-led effort to push through a flawed bill without offering Republicans any opportunities to amend it. “I in no way authored the bill. I had never seen the bill until it came [to the Senate floor]. It had some good stuff in there and it had some bad stuff in there. I felt that we could have cleaned it up, but Senator Reid chose not to amend the bill,” Boozman said noting the bill did not move forward because the non-partisan Senate Parliamentarian ruled that it violated budget guidelines. “Again, it didn’t kill the bill it just sent it back to the committee to get the pay-for figured out,” he added.
- On the bigger issue of veterans’ unemployment, Boozman said the Republicans idea which Senator Reid did not allow a vote on would be a better solution. “We’ve got to help veteran gets back to work. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. But [with this bill] when the money went away, the job went away. So we said, let’s do the job training, but let’s put a provision in there that with attrition, veterans would have first preference [at available government positions] so they would have a real job that would last forever. Those are the commonsense things that you need to do rather than some short-sighted deal just to boost employment so you could brag about it for a year,” he said.
- On the state highway funding ballot initiative, Boozman stressed that this is a state issue, but said he intends to vote for it as a citizen. “I really believe for Arkansas to move forward you have to have the infrastructure. We talk about Jobs, jobs, jobs. The nice thing [about infrastructure development] is you create some jobs when you do it but by far the most important thing is the economic activity that comes about as a result of it,” he said.
- On deepening the Arkansas River, Boozman said, “Our inland waterways are so important. If we deepened the channel to 12-foot, the barrages would be able to hold 40% more product with very little, if any cost, of pushing it down stream. So your price goes down dramatically in terms of delivering the goods.”
- Boozman said he supports a waiver for the renewable fuel standard and that he requested that from the Administration because of the negative impact ethanol subsidies have on the cost of living for Arkansans. “In the past we’ve had about 40% of our corn crop going into ethanol. Now with the drought, I think it will be closer to 50%. That makes no sense at all,” he said. “What that does is drives up the cost of corn. That drives up the cost of commodities in general and really does translate to higher prices in the grocery stores.”
- When asked how the partisan divide on tax cuts will be overcome to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” Boozman said, “The avenue I’ve been looking at is let’s go for a year [on a tax extension] and put in place some hard and fast steps as to real tax reform.”
- On the question of how to bring down the national debt, Boozman said, “These are basic economic rules. You can’t have over a trillion dollar deficit year after year. We’ve got to get our debt under control in a logical reasonable way.”
- Boozman was also asked his position on postal reform to which he responded, “We’ve got areas in the country where lots of seniors live. They rely on the Post Office for their medicine and their Social Security check so you need to have a presence there.” Boozman, citing a reform bill he supported in the Senate, said the end game is getting the U.S. Postal Service in a position where it is economically viable again. “We’ve got to help the Post Office reinvent itself. The Post Office is going to have to find their place and we are going to have to help them find it,” he said.