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Senator Marsha Blackburn Discusses Broadband and The Impact on Caregivers

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2019 11:12 am

Senator Marsha Blackburn Discusses Broadband and The Impact on Caregivers

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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March 23, 2019 11:12 am

US Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee called the show to discuss broadband in rural areas of Tennessee and the country. Access to broadband creates more opportunities for tele-health, education, and many other applications affecting the family caregiver. 

For example, in the picture above, Senator Blackburn and I were giving an interview at the US Capitol in DC.  Just prior to that interview, I used my phone to allow a phlebotomist into my home in Nashville, where she drew blood from Gracie for regular lab work. 

I then secured the door behind her as she left.  Gracie didn't have to put her prosthetic legs on, or answer the door in her wheelchair. Because of broadband, I could do all those things from my phone. 

As caregivers, we need to incorporate as many tools as possible to help us better do our jobs without stretching ourselves so thin.  Remember, one of the three "I's" every caregiver struggles with is the loss of independence. Technology and apps on our phone helps us regain that, better care for our loved ones, and even pursue new job opportunities.  Check out my article about that in Newsmax.

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Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the nation's number one show for the family caregiver. For those who are putting themselves between a vulnerable loved one and even worse, disaster. Maybe you're pushing a wheelchair. Maybe you're staying up late at night with a child with special needs that's having a bad night. Maybe you're spending a lot of time back and forth to hospital, hospice, rehab centers, court.

All kinds of scenarios are affecting those out there who are living with somebody with an impairment. We are committed to helping you stay strong and healthy as you take care of someone who is not. I'm Peter Rosenberger. Glad to have you with us. 888-589-8840 if you want to be a part of the show.

888-589-8840. We're joined today by Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. I've had the privilege of knowing her for some time and we're grateful she took time to talk to us about things happening in Washington that specifically affect those of us caring for impaired or vulnerable loved ones. Senator Blackburn, welcome to Hope for the Caregiver. Oh, thank you. It is such a pleasure to be with you again and to spend some time with you and your listeners. You know what? This is the first time I've addressed you as Senator Blackburn. That's very cool. There you go.

Look at what has happened. I mean, this is extraordinary and so we're just real proud of you in Tennessee. Well, thank you. It is such an honor to be able to serve and to represent our citizens and to address their concerns before the federal government. I'm just really grateful for the opportunity. Well, one of those concerns is that affects the listeners of this show and I want you to kind of help walk us through that.

It started when you were in the House. You were the chairman of the House Committee on Communications and Technology and you've kind of shepherded a lot of this increased broadband in rural areas, not just for Tennessee, but across the country. And talk about that when it started and then where it is now as you kind of still work through that with the Senate.

Right. And we are still working through that and are seeing tremendous results. And, you know, one of the things that is happening is we're hearing not only from Tennessee and our General Assembly here and our governor, but from other states that now they are beginning to put money into expanding high speed Internet into rural and underserved areas. And this is exactly what we want to see happen is in order to close that digital divide, you've got communities and local governments that are teaming up with their Internet service provider and they're finding a way to get high speed Internet into these communities. In Tennessee, we're down to about 15 percent of the state is what is left without access to high speed Internet.

And that is a very good thing. Now, what we did at the federal level was to get rid of some of the rules and regulations that stood in the way. We simplified permitting and we were focused on how you encourage and how you get people to team up. Electric power co-ops are now busy helping provide access to high speed Internet. They are accessing some of the funds that we have put forward, such as the Rural Development Authority. We've got in rural utility service we put $600 million that would go into deploying high speed Internet. The Federal Communications Commission has a rural healthcare fund for health technology and utilization of those funds. Yesterday, I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee with one of the commissioners from the FCC, Brendan Carr.

I had him come down. And we talked with some of the healthcare providers there about how they team up with localities and use those funds because we know this is important. You can't have 21st century education or economic development or healthcare, which is important to our caregivers, if you do not have access to high speed Internet. And so much healthcare, as you and I have talked, Peter, there are so many things now that can be done from an app on your iPad.

There is checking of vital signs, utilization of digital imaging, utilization of telehealth concepts, telepsych concepts that eliminate the need to have someone travel to the physician's office. You're able to bring that access to healthcare. Where does this kind of thing stand nationwide? Well, and this is when you're talking about nationwide, this is why it's so important that the Federal Communications Commission makes these funds available. And it is why individuals encourage their local communities to access some of these funds that are there specifically for telehealth, that are there specifically for expanding rural broadband. And it is like so many things in the process, the activism will begin at the local level. And it will be by individuals asking their county mayor or their county commissioner, have you all looked into this?

We live in an area where you can't get high speed Internet. What are you doing that will help bring that into our community? And I would encourage everyone to approach this issue with your local elected officials and say, we know these funds are available at the federal level. Many states have funds, like Tennessee, have funds available at the state level. And you need to make certain that people are doing their part to secure those funds for your community. Do you think that it is a reasonable comparison to talk about what you are doing right now with this to similar to what Eisenhower did with the interstate system as far as the comparison?

Is that is that a reasonable comparison of what it's going to do for our country? It's a reasonable comparison when you look at one of the things we hear most from county mayors is access to high speed Internet is their number one infrastructure issue. And they do look at it as an infrastructure issue. Because you don't need a four lane highway if you are not going to have access to high speed Internet.

Because you have to have that foundational item in order to increase your educational opportunities and to have economic development. You know, every call center that is looking to relocate, every small business manufacturer, you know, in Tennessee we have a lot of auto manufacturing. Every big farmer, farmers are using precision agriculture concepts.

Everybody is looking for access to broadband in order to grow their business. And that is why this is an issue that is important in so many different applications. Like I said, the economic development, the education, the health care, law enforcement, they're all saying this is something that we need. I know it doesn't get quite the attention that a lot of other things do in Washington right now. But it's an important thing. You're right, it does. But you know, Peter, this is one of those technical issues that affects how people are able to live their lives.

And I was talking with someone last night, and they, a Tennessean, and they were talking about their concern for economic development in rural areas. And they said, you know, kids leave and they go to college and in their dorm room they have access to high speed Internet. On their campus they do. And then they go back home on the weekend or go see family over the weekend and they can't get on the Internet.

They don't have that high speed. And it makes it tough. I was talking to another county. They have a private school there in this community. And so they decided to give everybody an iPad and do away with books and the traditional events and put it all on a tablet. The problem was children didn't have access to high speed Internet at home, so they couldn't do their homework at home. They were having to finish their studies before they went home.

And sometimes it meant that they would take, they would get home and then they would have to go back into town in order to complete their assignments so that they could send it in. Well, now, will this be affordable for folks? I mean, because a lot of families won't be able to necessarily afford a high bill every month. Will there be some type of affordability plan in place with this?

Well, I think that that depends on what the rate is going to be, whether it is AT&T or Comcast or your local exchange carrier or your electric co-op. They're going to set the rate for what that plan is. And people can get different levels of plans. They may want all the bells and whistles or they may want the basics. And with different services, that's what people will choose. So what they choose is going to be up to them. And I think that what we do want to see is if they choose to accept their service when it comes down their road. Lots of states have problems with the adoption rate not being as high as it ought to be in order to get the cost down per household. So the more people that are utilizing the service, just like other services, then the more affordable it is going to be for the greatest number of people. Well- Tennessee's adoption rate has been at about 60%.

And it needs to get up to about 80 or 85%. Let me give you a real-life application. For those listening right now thinking, okay, how does this affect with a caregiver? When I was up in Washington, you invited me up to be at the State of the Union a year and a half ago or so. And I was up there, but before we were doing an interview together, I was able to let in through an app on my phone a phlebotomist into my house so that she could take blood from my wife. Gracie didn't have to get up and get in her wheelchair or put her legs on and to go answer the door and let somebody in. I was able to do all that with security, lock the door behind her, and Gracie was secured.

I'm doing all this from my phone to my home in Nashville while I'm in Washington. That's right. That's what we're talking about. That's exactly right. That is what we're talking about.

And, you know, with so many of these applications now, you can use your remote device to monitor what is going on, changing the temperature in the home, seeing who is at the door, deciding if you want to let them in, like you did when we were standing there waiting to do that interview. You unlocked the door. They went in. They finished.

You locked the door. And Gracie was safe and secure. That's the whole point. Nobody had to move her. Nobody had to be there.

And I didn't have to worry about her falling. And even if she did, we would have mechanisms for that. You can watch. You have things that will send you sensors if the gas is left on, if the water is left on. There's so many different applications.

We don't have the time to go through the applications, but it all starts with broadband. And I thank you for all your work on that. Senator, let me pivot to a different subject real quick, because I know your time is busy. The gloves are coming off from the left regarding abortion. It's almost like the issue is moving from being labeled pro-choice to just being pro-abortion. Talk about where you're speaking into this issue from the Senate and what we need to do.

Here is where we are. We put the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act on the floor. And believe it or not, you had the Democrats vote that thing down. And it is unconscionable and just unbelievable to me that you would have them vote against saving a child that survived an abortion. And what we're talking about now is not abortion in the first few weeks of a pregnancy. This is abortion after the child survived that. This is infanticide. And you have seen some states like New York and Virginia actually move forward with allowing abortion up until the time of birth.

And this is taking the life of the child. We are – one of the other bills that I'm working on is Title X funding, which is there in our federal appropriations for women's health. Those are taxpayer funds for women's health. And what we are doing now is trying to block abortion providers from getting those funds. We have 655 abortion clinics in the country.

We have 13,500 community health centers in this country. And we're saying, look, the community health centers that actually provide women's health should be the ones getting those funds. It should not be clinics that do abortion. So we're saying, if you do abortion, you do not get those Title X funds.

Those are going to go to health care providers that are providing access to health care for women. What drives this home for me is when the governor of Virginia stated that, you know, if the child is born with severe deformities, we're going to have a discussion. And what concerns me is there are families at the breaking point right now with the child with special needs. Are they going to be listening to people like the governor of Virginia who now say, we could have a discussion about this?

And when is it okay to have that, quote, unquote, discussion? And you start devaluing life. I'm deeply concerned about what's going to happen to these families who are just truly coming apart dealing with these things.

How can we speak life into them? And I'm so glad that you're out there pushing hard against this. What can we do? Well, the thing there is to continue to talk to your elected representatives and just say taxpayer funds should not be going to those that are providing abortion. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, thank you so much for joining. You are always welcome. Thank you for fighting for this and fighting for life. And we're very grateful that you are here. And congratulations on being senator.

It's last question. What what change what you've been in the Senate now just for a couple of months. What's the biggest surprise that came to you after all your years in the House and so forth?

What's the biggest surprise for you that kind of, wow, this is different? It is getting to 95 counties instead of 19 counties. So you're on the road a lot. Yes, we are.

We're on the road a lot. Thanks so much for having me with you. Thank you very much. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-22 03:26:32 / 2024-01-22 03:32:31 / 6

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