Sen. Al Franken Talks Health Care, Education In Brainerd
It was all business in Brainerd this holiday as Senator Al Franken made a stop at Home Instead Senior Care to discuss rising pharmaceutical prices, as this is a top priority for Senator Franken as Congress discusses changes in health care.
“We have a situation where people, specifically seniors, aren’t taking their medications,” Sen. Franken said. “It’s not cost effective.”
Senator Franken met with representatives from pharmaceutical companies, health care centers, as well as senior citizens to listen and ask questions about what he can take back to Washington as a member of the Senate Health Committee. Franken says that the complexity of the issue is a challenge, but it’s important to hear from those directly affected by the rising drug costs.
“It’s always good to hear these discussions,” Franken said. “And always gets into, when I say the weeds I mean details, I have difficulty comprehending. I can imagine how difficult it is for the average senior or just average American, average Minnesotan who is trying to navigate their prescription drugs.”
Hours later, Senator Franken then switched gears to talk about the current skills gap in America, leaving millions of jobs open due to the lack of candidate with the proper training. Franken toured Avantech in Baxter, which is the largest manufacturer of aluminum rotational molds in the world. Franken praises companies like Avantech that offer a partnership with local schools to allow students to train for jobs that don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.
Franken says that he is ready to work with the new administration and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whom he was highly critical of during the nomination hearing process, on moving these programs forward nationwide.
“I said to her [Secretary DeVos], ‘Look, I may not vote for you, but I think you’ll probably get confirmed. And if you are confirmed, I want to work with you exactly on this,'” Franken said. “And she said yes and I look forward to working with her.”
The stop at Avantech in Baxter was part of Senator Franken’s “Advancing Career Pathways Tour,” where he is focusing on learning new ways to close the nationwide skills gap.