Sixth District U.S. Congressman John Rose visited residents at Fairfield Glade’s Good Samaritan Society and the Pleasant Hill Community Center to meet with constituents, express some of the challenges Congress is facing and introduce himself to the district.

Rose also toured the Good Samaritan Society campus and had a discussion with staff members to hear their concerns regarding health care.

One of the issues the facility is faced with is Medicare bundling to save costs.

Jill Worsham, director of nursing, said staff at the facility has to spend extra time preparing weekly updates for several different groups in order to meet Medicare funding requirements.

“It’s lowering the costs for them, but we are not a part of the cost share and we are having to increase our staff just to perform a lot of extra administration duties that don’t involve patient care. There are a massive amount of regulations to meet, and it’s getting hard to retain staff. It’s almost unachievable. If there was a way to reduce some of the regulations and not duplicate them and reduce staff requirements it would help considerably,” Worsham said.

Rose and his district manager, Rebecca Foster, who has a nursing and medical background, said they will research the matter.

“I’m not on any committees involved with health care and it’s a challenge … We need to foster charitable organizations more and find a better way to fund. A better way than the government … I will say the best solutions tend to come from those who are in the field with their suggestions,” Rose said.

Earlier, as he addressed a crowd at Good Samaritan Society Fairfield Glade, Rose said, “I am concerned about the national debt. We are borrowing more and more from other countries, and our debt is $22 trillion. Half of that has been over the last 10 years. That’s $100 million an hour.”

He said the national debt was one of the three big issues that made him want to run for Congress.

The other issues Rose said are regulation and the degradation of rules of law.

“We can’t keep running the country with this much debt. At some point it won’t work and we’ll become a diminished country … our founding fathers didn’t want us to depend on the federal government too much,” Rose said.

He said the system did not make sense because congress does not pass or approve any budget, yet they appropriate funding without a plan.

“We have no governance on our debt,” he said.

He said the U.S. has been a consistent force of good for other countries in aiding them in fighting for their liberty and freedom.

Rose said, “We have to be willing to make some sacrifices and set more priorities and expectations for the future. The government needs to get out of the business they’re not supposed in.”

Rose said the founding fathers of the country wanted to leave decisions in the people’s hands and the hands of individual states.

Rose took a couple of questions. One question in Fairfield Glade was “How do you feel about the legalization of marijuana?”

Rose said he’s against it.

“For medicinal needs, it needs to be a prescription … It has not been fully researched so the Food and Drug Administration can determine if it has benefits and how to use it. It’s not regulated. I do not support recreational use at all. Smoking anything is not good for you. There has been no research,” Rose said.

In Pleasant Hill, Rose said, “Our generation is at risk of leaving this country worse off than it was to the next generation, and it will be the first time in history to do so. That and my son, Guy, and his future are what made me decide to get into politics … I thought Washington could learn a lot from Tennessee. We have a balanced budget, for one thing.  I wanted to bring Tennessee values to Washington and keep Washington out of Tennessee.”

Rose said society depends on the federal government too much. He said the nation is under the burden of federal government regulations.

“It’s having a damaging impact on our country,” Rose said.

He gave an example of new highway being built in China that had double the specifications of one built in the U.S.

“For a 60-mile highway it took them one year from concept to completion,” Rose said.

He the equivalent project in the U.S. would take 12 years due to all of the federal regulations.

Rose said many in our country also take many things for granted such as safety and private property rights.

“I try to think of all of these areas when I’m voting on any bills and the effect they will have on our area in Tennessee,” Rose said.

He also said he does not plan to stay in politics for life.

“I believe you should serve for a season and return home,” Rose said.

Rose was asked what could be done about health care in Tennessee.

Rose said, “Health care is not guaranteed by the Constitution,” he replied. “The federal government should not be involved it. The problems should be addressed at the state and local level. It’s not one of the defined powers.”

He said in agriculture the No. 1 problem is government interference with free markets.

“We need to return more responsibility to individuals … we need to send a message to the younger generation to take more responsibility of their own health care. They’re somewhat oblivious of what’s involved. We don’t have a private functioning market. Hospitals are relying on government for payments and fail to adapt to market,” Rose said.

When asked about global warming, Rose said, “Global warming is currently a hypothesis. Climate change is real. It happens, but to what degree does mankind have an impact? The scientific community have to be careful. We live in a complex world and there are lots of causes. Any one may have an effect. The tilt of earth’s axis could have an effect. I try to keep an open mind.”

Several of those attending the meeting thanked Rose for taking the time to come to Pleasant Hill.

Gary Nelson may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com

Crossville Chronicle senior staff writer