The rural care health access crisis

From the Ledger-Enquirer (editorial):

“Over the past three decades,” notes the sponsoring senators’ news release, “legislative and regulatory changes have combined with broader economic trends to create an uneven playing field that has resulted in hospitals losing out on millions of dollars in Medicare payments annually.”

Probably the cruelest irony of all in this formula is the self-reinforcing damage it does. One of the organizations endorsing the bill is the National Rural Health Association; as its CEO Alan Morgan wrote in a letter to Isakson, the existing reimbursement formula penalizes doctors who practice in underserved communities. One sure way make a rural health crisis self-perpetuating is a built-in reason for medical professionals not to go where they’re needed most.

Every now and then, something comes to Washington’s attention that actually transcends partisan politics. This bill is a welcome result.

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