Our recent efforts in Washington are focused on consumer relief and protection as we continue working to reinvigorate our sluggish economy. I am very hopeful that, by mid-summer, we will have a much clearer picture of whether our efforts to create jobs through smart, long-overdue investments in our country’s future have taken hold.
The Senate has acted to protect consumers from abusive practices used by many credit card issuers — practices that are especially unfair during this recession. Virginians understand they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe, but I believe they also have a right to not get hit by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties and hidden fees that have become common.
Also on the consumer front, I was pleased last week to join my colleague, New York Senator Charles Schumer, in announcing a Federal Trade Commission investigation and enforcement action against major players behind those annoying vehicle warranty “robocalls.”
If you have not received one of these automated calls at your home, workplace, or even on your cell phone, I’ll bet a member of your family has. I am pleased that the FTC has taken quick and aggressive action to shut-down these scammers, and I urge Virginia consumers to continue to be vigilant – and cautious — when responding to any unsolicited offer that uses scare tactics to try to prompt immediate action.
This week, we convened a high-powered meeting at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College of Virginia in Richmond to educate Virginia health care providers and hospital executives on the issue of electronic health records. We had 450 people at the conference – and another 300 watched a live stream on our website.
Like many of you, I find it bewildering that health care remains the only major U.S. industry that continues to rely largely on paper records. Considerable new federal support is now available for health providers to step-up their use of digital technology to capture good data and hold-down health care costs, and I’m pleased we were joined by Dr. David Blumenthal, who is leading the Administration’s health IT initiative, and other key federal and state health care officials.
Once again, I thank you for your interest in our work here in Congress, and I urge you to contact our officewith any concerns you may have or if we can be of any assistance to you.
Mark Warner represents Virginia in the United States Senate.