By EMILY DANIELS
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — As the country inches closer toward making President-elect Donald Trump’s administration official, Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., said he’s excited for the change.
However, Mooney said any new administration comes with its own unique challenges.
“Now that Republicans have control of all three chambers — the bodies that bills have to go through — I think the challenge is going to be agreeing on the product,” Mooney said. “Bipartisanship is still there, we just have to make sure the Republicans agree on what we want to do, have the details lined out, then work with the Democrats to support the policy reform.”
One of the biggest upcoming changes Mooney sees is health care reform, and he thinks the plans Trump has already discussed are steps in the right direction.
“Obviously, we will go with whatever President Trump suggests. I think we did the right thing in the House putting forth in advance what our views are in health care reform. We want to make coverage portable so you can take it with you to other jobs, allowing it to go across state lines. I think that’s a great idea, and Trump has talked about that,” Mooney said. “Some of the basic things I believe we are going to do — and everyone agrees with — I don’t think abortion should be part of health care, we shouldn’t be pushing that, and liability reform. We have too many frivolous lawsuits. There are also a lot of scare tactics going on with the repeal of Obamacare, but they aren’t true. I think most people will see that.”
While health care reform remains a top priority, there are other items on which Mooney said he hopes to continue working.
“I’m actually pretty excited about this tax reform plan. The House’s agenda is tax reduction. Right now, we’re focused on getting manufacturing back to our country. We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, and companies are having to leave and go where it’s lower. One of the ideas is to reduce the tax rate, making it closer to average,” Mooney said. “By doing that, a lot of business and manufacturing jobs will come back to our country and expand. Think about Procter & Gamble. If we have a more competitive tax rate and have opportunities to expand here, that’s a big benefit for our area. It’s a good Republican value to cut taxes and actually increase revenue and keep jobs in the country.”
During his time representing the people of the 2nd congressional district of West Virginia, Mooney said he has many accomplishments, but one success in particular comes to mind of which he is especially proud.
“It was a success story where a constituent comes to you, you listen and then take action. I got the law changed where doctors weren’t being pressured to prescribe. I felt that was very rewarding, and it was a good example of how government is supposed to work,” Mooney said. “I attended a meeting with a bunch of doctors. Not having to be under that patient satisfaction survey would help prevent more drug addiction. So seeing a law actually changed (has been most rewarding).”
The law to which Mooney is referring removes reimbursements from pain-management questions.
Previously, a standardized survey known as the “Hospital Consumer Survey of Healthcare Providers and Systems” was meant to measure a patient’s satisfaction with the care received while at the hospital.
Although the survey was created in 2006 and surveys were used on an optional basis, “pay for performance” provisions in the Affordable Care Act stated that the surveys would be used to calculate incentive payments or payment reductions depending on survey results.
While being involved in politics has been gratifying, Mooney said it’s difficult being away from home so often.
“I have three beautiful kids at a home and a wonderful wife, and I’m away a lot, so personally, it’s a lot of time away from the family,” Mooney said.
Through it all, however, Mooney said he’s proud to stand with his fellow West Virginia representatives and looks forward to what the future holds.
“Us in West Virgina work well together. I work with Sen. Capito and Sen. Manchin — we meet on a regular basis. Not all states have a good relationship with each other, but we do,” Mooney said. We have a great working relationship.”
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