Protecting Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
This week, I wrote to President Trump and to the state attorneys general who are suing the federal government to allow insurance companies to deny coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and called upon them to drop their litigation and for the President to defend the Affordable Care Act. I also took note of Thursday’s start of an abbreviated open enrollment period for 2019 HealthCare.gov plans, called for emergency hearings on hate crimes after the recent murders in a Pittsburgh synagogue, talked about the Music Modernization Act and other federal policy concerns with the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy, expressed concern about a series of recent false statements from the President, invited veterans to my annual Veterans Day event, planned to hold a November “Congress On Your Corner,” offered constituents U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars and suggested a health tip about Halloween candy and safe storage of medication. Keep reading to learn more about my week and follow me on Twitter and Facebook to see more updates as they happen.
Protecting Patients with Pre-Existing Conditions
Flagging Open Enrollment Now Available at HealthCare.gov
Calling for Emergency Hearings on Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism
Talking Music with Memphis Chapter of the Recording Academy
Expressing Concern about the President’s False Statements
Remembering Attorney Marvin Ballin
Inviting Veterans to My Annual Veterans Day Event
Holding My Next “Congress On Your Corner”
Offering U.S. Capitol Historical Society Calendars
Signing Up for “Congress On Your Corner” and this e-Newsletter
Weekly Health Tip
Quote of the Week
On Tuesday, I joined Congressional colleagues in sending letters to President Trump, 18 state attorneys general -- including Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III -- and two governors who are suing the federal government in Texas v. United States. The letters call on them to drop pending litigation that seeks to allow insurance companies to deny health insurance coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions.
The letters note that both the President and the Senate Majority Leader now claim they are fully supportive of coverage for pre-existing conditions despite years of effort by them to kill or weaken the 2010 Affordable Care Act that guarantees those protections. President Trump’s Department of Justice has refused to intervene to uphold those protections. Trump-aligned state attorneys general, including Tennessee’s, are still advancing litigation that, if successful, would end those protections. If they’re serious about their newfound position, they should call for this litigation to be dropped.
Thursday was the first day of open enrollment for 2019 HealthCare.gov insurance plans. This year, open enrollment runs only through December 15. I will be making use of every possible means to make my constituents aware that the time available to sign up has been limited again this year compared to the enrollment periods during the Obama Administration -- six weeks shorter than it was in 2016. For more information on signing up for health care, see Healthcare.gov.
On Monday, as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, I joined House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee in sending a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte calling for emergency hearings on hate crimes and domestic terrorism in the wake of recent killings by individuals with white supremacist views. Our letter comes after 11 people were murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, explosive devices were sent to more than a dozen public figures critical of President Trump, and two African Americans were killed at a supermarket in Jeffersontown, Kentucky after the shooter attempted to enter a predominately black church. The American people deserve hearings so that right-wing extremists and those with neo-Nazi and white supremacist views are exposed for the dangerous threat they pose to our liberties.
Left to right: Recording Academy chapter members Angelo Rapan, Vicki Loveland, Congressman Cohen, Susan Marshal, Jeff Powell
On Wednesday, I was honored to receive the Memphis Recording Academy’s “Champion of Music” citation at a gathering at David Porter’s Made in Memphis Entertainment Studio. The Memphis recording professionals thanked me for my work on the Judiciary Committee that helped lead to passage of the Music Modernization Act in September. The new law updates provisions of federal copyright law to account for the transformation of the music industry by the internet, music streaming and smart phones. It also expands federal copyright protection to pre-1972 sound recordings to ensure that legacy artists, including many in Memphis, are appropriately compensated for the use of their work. The Music Modernization Act contains elements of the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service and Important Contributions to Society (CLASSICS) Act, which I cosponsored, that will resolve uncertainties over copyright protections for certain pre-1972 sound recordings and clarify digital royalties for pre-1972 sound recordings. The Recording Academy members also wanted to talk about the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act (H.R. 3945) that I have cosponsored and asked me to stay committed to funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and music education programs, which I have long supported.
While a group of migrants who are seeking asylum and fleeing unspeakable conditions in their Central American countries was more than 1,000 miles from the U.S. border, President Trump declared it an “invasion” and dramatically but needlessly called out active duty soldiers to stop it. A few days later, he said the middle class would get a 10 percent tax cut before the Midterm elections despite the fact Congress isn’t in session until after those elections. Then the President declared he had the authority to end birthright citizenship, enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, by executive order. None of these statements are true. As I told CNN's Wolf Blizer this afternoon, the President "shouldn't engage in fantasy, falsehoods and fabrications." This kind of serial dishonesty needs to be called out.
On Wednesday, I attended the Baron Hirsch Synagogue services for Marvin Ballin, a great lawyer who was loved around the courthouse for his storytelling and for the advice he offered. Marvin stood up for people who needed a voice when they otherwise wouldn’t have one. In eulogies by his son and law partner Leslie Ballin, his law partner Randy Fishman and his grandson and law partner Blake Ballin, his hard work for his clients, his family and his community were celebrated. Marvin Ballin was a special person, a special lawyer and a special Memphian. His was a life well lived, and he will be missed.
Words cannot adequately express the gratitude our nation owes its military veterans for their dedication to our country and the sacrifices they have made. My annual Veterans Day gathering is a time to thank them and their families and enjoy some barbecue while we discuss veterans issues. My 10th Annual Veterans Day Meeting and Barbecue Luncheon will be held on Monday, November 12, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Kroc Center of Memphis – Hardin Hall, 800 East Parkway South. Vets please RSVP by Thursday, November 8 at (901) 544-4131.
My Memphis staff and I will hold an evening “Congress On Your Corner” for those who can’t make our daytime events, on Monday, November 26, at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. As your representative in Congress, part of my job is making sure your concerns and issues with federal agencies and federal benefits are dealt with fairly and expeditiously. We can help with Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits and military service issues, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and services, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) home loans, federal grant applications, visas and passports, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issues and more.
My office will soon have a limited number of 2019 U.S. Capitol Historical Society calendars available. If you would like to receive a calendar, please complete this formon my website. Due to the rules of the House, I can mail calendars only to residents of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional District. Please feel free to share this email with other residents of the 9th District who may be interested in receiving one but who do not receive my e-Newsletter.
I enjoy meeting regularly with constituents in the district and helping get answers for them to questions about dealing with federal agencies. If you are interested in attending one of my “Congress on Your Corner” events, you can sign up here to receive notification as soon as the next event is scheduled.
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Each week, I share a health tip in the hope of promoting a healthy lifestyle for residents of the 9th Congressional District. As always, it is best to check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine or lifestyle.
After Halloween, you might find that you have a lot of loose candy and gum drops around the house. Some pills and capsules of medicine can look like candy, especially to young children, so my tip this week comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Keep your prescription and over-the-counter medications up and out of the reach of children and make sure safety caps are locked. See details here.
Rabbi Jacob Rothschild and Atlanta Mayor William Hartsfield in the rubble of the bombed-out synagogue, October 1958.
Just before dawn on October 12, 1958, a dynamite blast ripped a hole in the wall of The Temple synagogue on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Those responsible called themselves the Confederate Underground. The bombing was in retaliation for Senior Rabbi Jacob Rothschild’s outspoken support for racial equality. The next day, Ralph McGill, the legendary editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution, published a front page editorial.
“This is a harvest. It is the crop of things sown. It is the harvest of defiance of courts and the encouragement of citizens to defy law on the part of many Southern politicians…It is not possible to preach lawlessness and restrict it…Let it be understood that when leadership in high places in any degree fails to support constituted authority, it opens the gates to all those who wish to take law into their hands…You do not preach and encourage hatred for the Negro and hope to restrict it to that field. It is an old, old story. It is one repeated over and over again in history. When the wolves of hate are loosed on one people, then no one is safe…For a long time now it has been needful for all Americans to stand up and be counted on the side of law and the due process of law – even when to do so goes against personal beliefs and emotions. It is late. But there is yet time.”
As always, I remain
Member of Congress