Roe: Early-stage cancer prognosis is good

Hank Hayes • Jul 27, 2017 at 5:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe reported Thursday the prognosis for his early-stage prostate cancer is good.

“I get my treatment Monday,” Roe, R-Tenn., said in a conference call with reporters. “I’m optimistic I’m going to get better and back to work. That’s what my plan is. … Those are facts. It all looks good for us.”

Roe’s office announced in a statement released on Tuesday that treatment would occur during the August district work period and was not expected to interfere with his scheduled legislative duties.

Has your cancer diagnosis altered your perspective on repealing/replacing Obamacare?

“No, not at all,” Roe noted. “I have Obamacare and it’s really not very good. … I had a major back operation last September, and I would have been $5,000 better off if I didn’t have insurance. … It makes me want to fight even more for better coverage for people with lower premiums.”

What’s going on with the Senate bill to repeal/replace Obamacare?

“They voted 51 to 50 to continue debate,” Roe said. “Senate rules are more complicated than an organic chemistry class. They voted to proceed with debate. … The straight repeal was voted down. … What they’re now debating is called a ‘skinny’ repeal. … They would be removing the individual mandate (to buy health insurance), a partial removal of the business mandate. … If that passes, will that vote go to conference (committee of House and Senate members to hash out a final version of the legislation for an up-or-down vote)? … It may take time for the conferees, but that’s very doable. … Health care is difficult to do. I’ve said that from the very beginning.”

What’s going on with veterans’ issues?

“We passed the biggest expansion of the G.I. Bill ever,” Roe, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said of House passage of the #ForeverGIBill, a measure to extend and improve the G.I. Bill. “We named it after Harry W. Colmery, the first person to write the G.I. Bill after World War II. … Now going forward this will carry those G.I. benefits for a lifetime. My G.I. Bill, I could only use two years of the benefit and it sunsetted in 10 years. … We made this permanent. … We also did this for Purple Heart recipients.”

What did you think of President Trump’s tweet to bar transgender people from the military?

“A tweet isn’t law,” Roe responded. “What we’re going to do is wait and get more information on that very issue before we make any statement. I want to hear what (Defense) Secretary (James) Mattis has to say. He’s the expert. He’s the guy in charge of the Department of Defense. I have no more information right now than you do.”

What do you make of President Trump’s tweets undercutting Attorney General Jeff Sessions?

“Senator and now Attorney General Sessions, everything I know about him and I don’t know him well personally, is that he is a really straight-up guy … and one of then candidate Trump’s arch supporters. So it’s a little confusing to me about the president’s tweet,” Roe stressed.

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