Iowa’s two U-S Senators spoke at a Senate hearing this morning on the concentration in Agriculture. Senators Tom Harkin, a democrat, and Chuck Grassley, a republican, have each co-sponsored bills to deal with the issue. Harkin says there’s a lot the two bills have in common and he doesn’t see why they can’t work together to come up with a bipartisan bill. Harkin says he doesn’t want to see a “fig leaf” bill that provides for more studies and doesn’t put any teeth in anti-trust enforcement. He says he wants a real bill that gives the USDA and the Department of Justice the ability to act aggressively against vertical integration and horizontal mergers and Harkin says large corporations cannot continue to take control over every aspect of agriculture or the family farmer will become extinct.Senator Harkin says he’ll introduce a bipartisan bill to increase the use of telemedicine in the United States. Harkin says he’s worked for the last seven years to link hospitals in Iowa via the statewide fiber optic network. Harkin, a democrat, says the success in Iowa shows how important telemedicine can be for a rural state by linking patients in remote areas with highly-trained specialists hundreds of miles away. The technology also allows the transmission of x-rays and other medical information to doctors at larger medical centers for consultation.Harkin says one of the hurdles to telemedicine is getting Medicare to pay for it.He says his bill would change the way telemedicine is treated by Medicare.Harkin says the bill will be introduced next week.
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