Chairman News


Lamar Alexander: My last two years will focus on cutting health care costs

Up to half of health care spending is unnecessary. That's according to Dr. Brent James, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, who testified before my committee that 30 percent, and probably as much as 50 percent of all the money spent on health care is unnecessary. That startled me, as I hope it startles you. As a country, we spend a huge amount on health care. When we use James' estimates, that means $1-1.8 trillion of our health care spending in 2017 was unnecessary. That is more tha… Continue Reading


Trump could reopen the government and build a lasting legacy all at once

In the summer of 2015, President Barack Obama invited Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and me to meet with him at the White House. She is the ranking Democrat on the Senate's education committee, and I am its chairman. Our conversation that day in the Oval Office offers a lesson for resolving the current partial government shutdown. The president wanted to talk about our work in Congress to fix "No Child Left Behind." If you think the current impasse on border security is complicated, try setting fe… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Lamar Alexander: This Senate bill does 10 key things to fight the opioid epidemic

If you visit the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Niswonger Children's Hospital in Johnson City, you might see what I did this Spring - a third of the newborn babies in the unit experiencing withdrawal symptoms due to opioid drug exposure in the womb. Last year, more Tennesseans died from opioid overdoses than were killed in car crashes. The opioid crisis is ravaging our Tennessee communities, and in the coming days, the United States Senate will take a big step to help Tennessee fight back. … Continue Reading


The Washington Post: Lamar Alexander: Health care is about to get way easier for small businesses and self-employed Americans

Lamar Alexander, a Republican, represents Tennessee in the U.S. Senate and serves as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Today, if you're a self-employed plumber or a farmer or a waitress at a small restaurant, you likely don't have access to the same kind of lower-cost health insurance, tax breaks and patient protections that employees of bigger companies, such as IBM or Microsoft, enjoy. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and the Trump administration have co… Continue Reading


The Wall Street Journal: Trump’s Appointees Are Restoring Reason to the NLRB

"If you pay attention to politics, you might have heard about the regulatory reforms undertaken by the Education Department or the Environmental Protection Agency. But few have noticed the quiet transformation at the National Labor Relations Board, which is laying the groundwork for stronger economic growth. Under the Obama administration, the five-member NLRB radically tilted its decisions to benefit union interests. This created an atmosphere of uncertainty that hampered businesses. But Presi… Continue Reading


Politico: Alexander blasts Democrats for holding up Education nominees

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today blamed Democrats for the lack of senior officials in the Education Department and other federal agencies. Alexander at a hearing of the Senate HELP Committee, which he chairs, said the Trump administration used to share the blame, because it was slow to make nominations. "But not any more," he said. "The responsibility lies solely with the Democratic minority, which is insisting on taking most of one week to confirm each nominee, knowing that there is not t… Continue Reading


Lamar Alexander: The Alexander-Murray bill: Lower premiums, less debt, and new permanent flexibility for states

Congress can pass a Christmas present that would mean lower health insurance premiums for 9 million Americans who get no government subsidies. Specifically, this Christmas present would lower premiums by 18 percent in 2019, according to a new study published today by Avalere, a health consulting company. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, this present would also mean fewer federal dollars for Obamacare subsidies, less federal debt -and no taxpayer money bailing out insurance com… Continue Reading


Chattanooga Times Free Press: Alexander hopeful of passing health care reform to limit premium rate hikes

The chairman of the Senate committee that oversees healthcare said today "there is good chance" Congress will restore cost sharing payments to health insurers to help limit soaring premiums for those signing up for ObamaCare health plans today for coverage in 2018. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said a bipartisan plan he developed with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the ranking Democrat committee member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, would give Tennessee consum… Continue Reading


Lamar Alexander and Mike Rounds: Health Care Needs a Bipartisan Fix

President Trump has asked for a bipartisan short-term solution to reduce health-insurance premiums and avoid chaos in the individual market so 18 million Americans won't be hurt. Last week, 12 Republican and 12 Democratic U.S. senators proposed a solution. After eight years of ObamaCare speeches and votes but zero legislative victories, our bill actually could make conservative ideas law. It would permanently roll back some restrictions on states and allow anyone to buy a lower-cost catastrophi… Continue Reading


The Tennessean Q&A: Sen. Lamar Alexander on why the health care clock is ticking

Sen. Lamar Alexander will hold bipartisan hearings in early September in a last minute attempt to assure insurers of the federal government's commitment to the individual market, and pave the way for states to ask for flexibility on insurance benefits. Alexander, R-Tenn., is looking to drum up support for a "bipartisan way to get a limited result that actually helps people" after tumultuous months of heated debate over whether to repeal-and-replace the Affordable Care Act that ultimately handed… Continue Reading


Sen. Lamar Alexander: Fill out the NLRB and restore its neutrality

The Senate has the opportunity now to reverse the trend of an activist National Labor Relations Board and bring stability to our nation's workplaces by voting on two nominees who will fill long-vacant openings on the board. Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel, President Trump's nominees to the NLRB, are eminently qualified to be confirmed. Their confirmation can help restore the board to its intended purpose. For more than 80 years, the NLRB - created by the National Labor Relations Act to act i… Continue Reading


Washington Examiner: Trump labor board picks advance to full Senate

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday advanced President Trump's picks to fill two open seats on the National Labor Relations Board, the government's main labor law enforcement agency. The votes for Marvin Kaplan and William Emanuel were along strict party lines, reflecting the fact that the nominees are expected to shift the direction of the five-member board, which was known for its aggressive pro-organizing stance under former President Barack Obama. "My ho… Continue Reading


Washington Examiner: Businesses, GOP praise Trump pick for labor board

Business groups and Republicans praised President Trump's choice late Tuesday of lawyer William Emanuel to serve on the National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency. With Trump's nomination of Marvin Kaplan to the labor board last week, the picks would give the five-member board its first Republican majority since President George W. Bush's administration. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx, R.N.C., and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich… Continue Reading


Wall Street Journal: Kimberley Strassel: The Simplicity of a Health Deal

As Washington continues to boggle the nation with the complex minutiae of health-care reform, the contours of an actual deal aren't nearly so mystifying. The success of the GOP effort comes down to one simple question: Will the most conservative members of Congress accept that the politics of health care have changed? Or more simply yet: Will they acknowledge that any reform must include continued protections for pre-existing medical conditions? It's that easy. Yes, the media analysis is corre… Continue Reading


CQ Roll Call: Republicans Prepare to Go After Union-Friendly NLRB Rule

Republicans in the House and Senate are hoping to reverse a National Labor Relations Board regulation that they say helps unions form quickly at the expense of both employers and employees. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced legislation (S 1350) on Wednesday to rescind regulations opponents have nicknamed the "ambush rule." In the House, three bills with similar provisions (HR 2776, HR 2723, HR 2775) were discussed earlier in the day at an Education and the Workforce subcommittee hearing… Continue Reading


Chattanooga Times Free Press: Clint Cooper: Tennessee Senators offer a bridge

Too many politicians throw up their hands, blame the other guy or say the system's broken when an issue seems unworkable. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is not one of those. After a House Republican health care bill was pulled last week, the state's senior senator knew that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance market was failing and would continue to create problems for his constituents and others across the country. Alexander's proposal, co-sponsored by Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would al… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Sen. Lamar Alexander proposes temporary Obamacare relief

With healthcare reform stalled, Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Wednesday he intends to file legislation that would provide temporary relief for millions of people who live in areas where there are no insurers selling policies on the federal health insurance marketplace. Alexander's proposal would let people who get government subsidies to buy insurance use that money to purchase any state-approved plan on the private market if there is no insurer selling policies on the federal exchange, or mar… Continue Reading


The Tennessean: Lamar Alexander: Trump trip to highlight urgency of Obamacare substitute

Tennesseans welcome President Trump to Nashville. This is an opportunity for him to visit one of our country's most vibrant cities and to honor one of our most important Presidents, Andrew Jackson. It is also an opportunity for the president to learn more about the plight of 230,000 Tennesseans who will likely have zero health insurance options in 2018 if Congress does not act soon to replace and repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act. Tennessee's state insurance commissioner has been … Continue Reading


The Memphis Commercial Appeal: Lamar Alexander: Obamacare subsidy useless if insurance companies pull out

There is an Obamacare emergency in our state, and Tennesseans are right to care about the damage Obamacare is doing. Last year, BlueCross BlueShield - the oldest and largest insurer in Tennessee - pulled out of Memphis, leaving Humana and Cigna as the only insurance companies on the Memphis exchange for 2017. Last month, Humana announced it would not sell insurance on the Obamacare exchanges in 2018 - leaving 70,000 Tennesseans faced with finding new health coverage, including 40,000 Knoxville… Continue Reading


Lebanon Democrat: Lamar Alexander: Fixing education regulation that goes against the law

On Nov. 29, 2016, the United States Department of Education released its final regulation for implementing the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act - here is the problem with this rule: it specifically does things or requires states to do things that Congress said in our law fixing No Child Left Behind that the Department can't do. In other words, the Department's regulation specifically violates the law. It's not a matter of just being within the authority granted by the … Continue Reading

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