Listening session

Grassley visits TRMC, addresses issues

-Submitted photo
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley stands with a stethoscope pressed to his chest while Amy Palmer, senior clinic administrator at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center, demonstrates how telehealth physicians can use a stethoscope connected to their cart, so they can hear the patient’s heart beat themselves. The Des Moines based telehealth physician, Dr. Alex Cathy, told the senator that his heart sounded strong and healthy.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley got more than questions from constituents when he visited Fort Dodge Thursday.

The Republican lawmaker also got, via telemedicine, a clean bill of health regarding his heart.

Grassley stopped at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center as part of his annual tour of all 99 counties in Iowa.

During the visit, he answered questions from hospital staff members regarding specific federal health programs.

He said a newly released U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a “significant decision” that will help farmers worried about regulations imposed under the federal Waters of the United States rule.

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican, addresses physicians, nurses and other staff members at UnityPoint Health — Trinity Regional Medical Center Thursday afternoon at the hospital.

Grassley also outlined some things he feels need to happen to reach an agreement on raising the federal debt ceiling.

But before he addressed any of those issues, he received a firsthand demonstration of telemedicine. He stood in a hospital corridor with a stethoscope pressed to his chest while a physician in Des Moines listened to his heart. Dr. Alex Cathy said the senator’s heart sounded strong and healthy.

He then took questions from about 30 people in a conference room.

State Rep. Ann Meyer, R-Fort Dodge, who is a nurse, asked about the possibility of using a specific visa program to allow physicians from other countries to come into the United States, but requiring those physicians to work in rural areas.

Grassley said any discussion of that would collide with the bigger debate over what to do about illegal immigration on the southern border.

“This president has poisoned the well on the immigration issue because he believes in an open border,” he said.

Following the question and answer session, he discussed the recent Supreme Court ruling with The Messenger.

“This is a significant decision,” he said.

The ruling did not deal specifically with the Waters of the United States rule. He said it deals with wetlands and how to regulate them without depriving the land owner of their rights.

According to the senator, about 30 years ago there was a decision that indicated that a “significant nexus” between a wetland and a river was not necessary in order to impose regulations on a wetland.

“The Supreme Court said that’s ridiculous,” Grassley said.

The court’s recent ruling on the matter will affect the Waters of the United States rule.

Regarding the ongoing talks between the White House and Congress on the debt limit, Grassley listed a couple things he wants to see in the deal.

First, he said he wants “big expenditures” related to the COVID pandemic have to end.

He added that the country’s fiscal policy can’t be counterproductive to what the Federal Reserve is doing to combat inflation.

“If we appropriate too much money, we’re making their job more difficult,” Grassley said.

He said he wants discretionary spending to increase no more than 1 percent, with the exception of defense spending.


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