|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.27.14
Monday, October 27, 2014 ‚Äď
21st Century Cures &
Drill, Baby, Drill ‚Äď It Works
21st Century Cures
On Wednesday, October 22, I was joined by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and regional medical experts for a roundtable discussion on how to accelerate the pace of new promising cures and treatments for patients. This roundtable was part of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative launched in May by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which I serve.
Through this initiative, which includes hearings and roundtables in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country as well, my colleagues and I on the Committee are seeking to improve the full innovation process. This can mean discovering clues in basic science, streamlining the drug and device development process, unleashing the power of digital medicine and social media at the treatment phase, and more.
As noted by Roanoke Times reporter Laurence Hammack, ‚ÄúThe two-hour discussion ‚Ä¶ went beyond the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] approval process to cover a variety of topics: the need for health care providers to better share information about their patients; concerns about gaps in Medicare funding for telemedicine; problems with the patent process; and how to best balance the latest innovations with the more low-tech practice of encouraging patients to eat well, stop smoking and exercise more.‚ÄĚ Also discussed was the physician shortage problem, new technologies outpacing public policy, the importance of allowing health care providers to take advantage of methods recognizing the complexity of diseases and enabling them to bring these methods into the clinical process, the fact that the Congressional Budget Office is reluctant to score for preventive measures that show cost savings, and more.
It was truly an informative and very fascinating discussion. My sincere thanks to Dr. Roe and the others who took the time to share their thoughts and expertise.
What comes next, you ask? These ideas and others from similar hearings and roundtables will be used by me and my colleagues on the Committee to craft new laws to improve our health care system. I encourage you to stay tuned to the 21st Century Cures initiative and other efforts to save more lives, keep the United States the leader in medical innovation, and accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle of new cures and treatments for patients.
Drill, Baby, Drill ‚Äď It Works
In a November 2013 story by the Canadian The Globe and Mail newspaper, Saudi Prince al-Waleed bin Talal discussed his belief that his country‚Äôs political elite had been ‚Äú‚Ä¶recklessly ignoring economic threats posed by shale oil discoveries in the United States.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúNew shale oil discoveries ‚Äėare threats to any oil-producing country in the world,‚Äô he says.‚ÄĚ And, ‚ÄúIn less than two years, Prince al-Waleed says, the United States will be producing so much oil that it will be a competing exporter of crude. Oil prices currently hovering a little below $100 (U.S.) a barrel could sink as low as $80 over the next few years and potentially fall even further if more shale oil discoveries emerge in the United States, Europe and Australia.‚ÄĚ
He continued, ‚ÄúNinety-two percent of Saudi Arabia‚Äôs annual budget comes from oil. Definitely it is a worry and a concern.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúIt is a matter of survival,‚ÄĚ he also said.
President Obama mockingly describes Republicans‚Äô energy strategy as: ‚ÄúStep one is drill, and step two is drill, and then step three is keep drilling.‚ÄĚ But in reality, as regular readers of this column know, we believe in an all-of-the-above energy policy in which we dig, discover, deregulate, and ‚Äď yes ‚Äď drill in order to provide jobs, secure our energy future, and keep costs low.
And guess what? Oil prices continue to sink. The price of Brent crude oil has dropped below $86 a barrel, and Goldman Sachs is estimating it will fall to $80 per barrel. As Prince al-Waleed surely knows, the ‚Äúdrill, baby, drill!‚ÄĚ aspect of our energy policy is working.
Lower oil prices may be a problem for Prince al-Waleed, but not for U.S.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.