News from Representative Bradley Byrne
 

Dear Friend,

The American economy is booming! We received some good news on Friday that the unemployment rate in the United States has reached an 18 year low. Here in Alabama, we are experiencing the lowest recorded unemployment rate in our state's history.

 

This positive economic news is a testament to the hard work of the American people and the success of our pro-growth policies like cutting taxes and reducing regulations. We can't stop now though! I'm going to keep looking for other ways to grow the local and national economies.

Fighting for Our Hospitals

Since 2011, twelve hospitals have closed in Alabama, and another dozen are in danger of closing in the next two years.  From staff lay-offs to cutting off access to critical medical care, a hospital closure in rural Alabama would have devastating consequences. 

Last week, I paid a visit to Atmore Community Hospital to hear firsthand about the challenges facing our rural hospitals, as well as important perspectives on the importance of community hospitals.  Not only does the hospital serve thousands of patients each year, but it also employs hundreds of workers and contributes heavily to the local economy. 

These closures are taking place due to critical funding issues as a result of a poorly-designed formula implemented in the 1980s known as the Medicare Wage Index.  This formula has been exploited by union hospitals in deep blue states, such as California, to take funding away from states like Alabama and Tennessee.  At twenty-one percent below the national average, Alabama’s hospital Medicare reimbursement rate is the lowest in the country.  This means our rural hospitals are not paid back at the same rates as other hospitals around the nation and could ultimately be forced to close their doors. 

Sadly, the problem of the Medicare Wage Index continues to compound every year.  That is why I have been working closely with President Trump’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma and my Alabama colleagues to develop innovative ideas to fix Alabama’s long-term reimbursement issue. We must keep up the pressure to solve this issue and save our hospitals.

It is my hope that this effort will be part of a comprehensive plan on the state and federal levels to prevent further Alabama hospital closures.  

"Right to Try" Signed into Law

In a major development for those fighting life-threatening diseases, the Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLinn, and Matthew Bellina Right to Try Act has now been signed into law by President Donald Trump. This law will allow terminally ill patients to take advantage of medical treatments that otherwise may not be available to the general public.

In January, the President called for "Right to Try" legislation when he gave his State of the Union address. I am proud that we could pass this bipartisan legislation, which very likely increases the chances of survival through experimental treatment options.  We should do everything we can to bring hope to those suffering from serious illness in our country.

Red Snapper Season Opens

Red Snapper season officially opened on Friday, June 1st.  I am proud to have helped secure a 47-day Snapper season for our recreational fishermen and support a Gulf Coast tradition that has such a large impact on our coastal communities. 

No one understands the needs of our fisheries better than those who cast a reel along the Gulf Coast.  This season, our fishermen will have adequate time to enjoy a Gulf Coast tradition while our coastal communities will benefit from increased revenue. It is truly a win-win situation for coastal Alabama, and the Red Snapper fishery is perfectly healthy.

Specifically, the 2018 Red Snapper season in Alabama will run from June 1 through September 3, with Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays open to fishing. The entire week of the Fourth of July (June 30 through July 8) will also be open for Red Snapper fishing.  I look forward to a great Red Snapper season ahead! 

Protecting our Community

Last week, I was honored to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Mobile Country Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which will serve as Mobile County's central command and control center in the event a of disaster.  This is a critical facility as it is equipped to provide much needed aid and resources to the surrounding community and the state during a hurricane or other natural disaster. 

We have worked hard over the past few years to secure and maintain funding for this important project, and I am pleased to see the EOC open its doors just in time for the start of hurricane season. 

In Case You Missed It

Here are a few articles worth a read this week: 

"Mobile County opens long-awaited Emergency Operations Center" - AL.com

"Byrne confident federal budget will include new ships for Austal" - AL.com

"Alabama Rep. Byrne: ‘We remember the fallen’" - Yellowhammer News

"Alabama leaders comment on Memorial Day" - AL Political Reporter

"Rep. Byrne in Atmore to discuss rural hospital issues" - WPMI

"Satsuma High School sends computer lab to Honduras" - WPMI

"Trump signs Right to Try Act, allowing terminally ill patients to attempt experimental drugs" - Right To Try

"Moving Mobile Regional Airport? Study set to be released" - WKRG

"Unemployment Rate Falls to 18-Year Low; Solid Hiring in May" - Wall Street Journal

Photo of the Week 

I enjoyed meeting 10 year old Jonah Elliott and his father, Jay, while back in Mobile. We talked about everything from Harvard Law School to fishing. Jonah is quite an impressive young man!

What's Ahead

This week, I will return to Washington for the busy month of June.  Up first, the House is scheduled to consider an important water infrastructure bill, as well as a funding bill for a number of government priorities like the VA and military construction.

Back in Alabama, Tuesday in primary election day for both the Republican and Democrat parties. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. I strongly encourage every Alabamian to exercise their civic duty and vote. Click here to find your polling place!

It's going to be a busy summer, so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  It is a great way to stay up-to-date on what is going on in Washington. You can also call my office at 251-690-2811. Never forget that my staff and I work for you!

Stay in touch,

Congressman Bradley Byrne

PS: Do you enjoy my email updates? If so, please forward these updates to your friends and family. They can also sign up to get my updates by clicking here.

 

 Unsubscribe | Privacy