Republican Senator John Cornyn stopped through East Texas Saturday to open a new medical facility in Gilmer and speak with a group of graduates at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler. KLTV reporter Chris Gibson sat down with the Senator between engagements to talk about many of the issues facing our nation.
Serving on a task force dealing with health care costs, Senator John Cornyn spends a lot of his time in Congress dealing with the issue. Asked how Congress is addressing that, he said it's important to provide healthcare to those who can afford it and support facilities for those who can't.
"The president has said he wants to double the amount of funding available for (religious based facilities) and that's really one of my priorities," he said. "The challenge is, of course, we know if people show up at an emergency room at a hospital then they can get treated, because federal law says they must be treated but it's the highest priced and least efficient way of getting healthcare."
Senator Cornyn also discussed the costs for prescription drugs. While he supports access to the medicines, he doesn't believe alternative sources are the answer.
"The problem is that when you're going to put something in your mouth that you think is going to make you better you want to make sure that it is genuine, that it is going to have the effect that your doctor prescribed the prescription for," he said. "Unfortunately when you buy the drugs on the Internet or from Mexico or places like that you don't necessary have the safety guarantee that the American government has said we insist upon."
The war on terror is also a hot topic. While he didn't devote much time to it while speaking with graduates, he wants the American people to know Washington remains committed to the fighting in Iraq.
"The scope of the picture, or what the people can see when they watch the news, is what the camera lens shows. What they can't see is that in Northern Iraq and Southern Iraq that hospitals are opening, schools are opening, female children are going to school for the first time ever and people have been freed from a terrible an blood thirsty tyrant that has killed hundreds of thousands of people."
Democrats disagree with that view, which is one reason President Bush's approval ratings have tumbled of late. Senator Cornyn stands by his Republican president and believes, come November, others will too.
"Ultimately I believe that people appreciate (President Bush's) courage and his leadership and his principals," he said. "It's clear that he's not looking at his poles and he's making decisions that he thinks are in the best interest of the American people and I think that's the kind of leader that people will ultimately will support and who they will respect even if they may have some differences in opinion on how that is done."
Senator Cornyn is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee as well as a member of the State Republican Task Force on Healthcare Costs.