Access to high quality healthcare was the main focus of U.S. Rep. Steve King's visit to the Thrifty White Drug store in Webster City on Monday.
King, R-Kiron, spoke with pharmacists and other staff about their customer relations and the costs associated with drugs and healthcare. He has visited several other pharmacies in the fifth congressional district as well. King has been a vocal opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as "Obamacare," and said pharmacies like the Thrifty White Drug store provide a model example of quality healthcare outside of government involvement.
"It's pharmacist to patient relationships just like it's doctor to patient relationships," King said. "That's the kind of healthcare I want to see delivered all over this county."
- Daily Freeman-Journal photo by Jim Krajewski
U.S. Representative Steve King, R-Kiron, is shown the inner workings of Thrifty White Drug store in Webster City. King has visited several pharmacies in his district to learn about the services they offer and how drug and healthcare prices affect their customers.
King, who was on the steps of the Supreme Court when the individual mandate of Obamacare was ruled constitutional, said the ruling did not change people's opinion of the act and it didn't change his agenda to work to repeal it.
"We don't need to be shifting to a government-rationed type of care. I want to make sure that we have real people dealing with real people, and that's the best quality care that you can have," King said.
He also spoke about his progress with the farm bill. King said the bill was not debated on the house floor. He was told they didn't have enough time and the bill didn't have the support it needed when it came out of committee. King said he did not buy the lack of support, as talks with Democrats gave him confidence of almost 50 or more votes in favor of the bill. He also said there was always more time to discuss a bill crucial to farmers in Iowa.
"Just a few hours later, they began to count votes on a one-year extension of the existing farm bill. I don't agree with that strategy. It's better than doing nothing but it's not the best thing we can do," King said.
The extension included disaster relief for livestock, which King agrees is necessary, but he said the drought is far from over. King has heard from constituents that 10 inches of rain would not save their corn crops. He said his version of the farm bill will not likely pass before Congress leaves for August recess.
King also spoke about an amendment he added late Sunday to his farm bill which would prohibit states from regulating the means of production of agriculture products. This comes on the heels of a referendum passed in California which would regulate cage sizes for egg-bearing chicken. The referendum also affects eggs produced in other states.
King said he believes the regulation is a violation of the commerce clause of the constitution, which reserves regulation of interstate commerce to congress. He said the clause is intended to prevent trade wars between states by placing tariffs on products sent to other states.
King said regulating the means of production is equivalent to putting a tariff on a product. His amendment to the House farm bill would affect many livestock operations, including eggs, veal, pork and more. It would also affect ethanol.
"This is a broad and sweeping amendment that has significant impact, and if it can be kept in the bill, it shuts down states' interference with production of ag products outside their own borders,"?King said.
He said lobbyists from the Humane Society and of the United States and PETA?have been pushing emotional issues into law in states without much livestock production.