Despite opposition of NRHA and nearly every other provider and patient advocacy group, the House of Representatives today passed the American Health Care Act (which repeals and replaces the Affordable Care Act) by a vote of 217 to 213. Today the House had an opportunity to fix the many issues in the ACA that did not work for the 62 million who live in rural America (lack of plan competition in rural markets, exorbitant premiums, deductibles and co-pays, the co-op collapses, devastating Medicare cuts, and the lack of Medicaid expansion), but instead passed a bill that will likely make health care access worse and more expensive in rural communities.
It is now up to the Senate to address the needs of rural America, who are older, poorer and sicker per capita. Please review NRHA's document outlining policy suggestions, join our grassroots efforts and tell your Senators that any health reform bill must include:
1). Reforming Insurance Markets - Any federal health care reform proposal must address the fact that insurance providers are withdrawing from rural markets;
2). Stabilizing the Rural Health Safety Net - Rural Americans are disproportionately dependent upon Medicaid. Any federal reform care bill must ensure that states can continue unique Medicaid payment programs established to help rural Americans maintain access to care;
3). Stopping the Rural Hospital Closure Crisis -- Congress needs to act now and stop the devastating rural hospital closure crisis. Any reform bill must include a provisions to stop Medicare bad debt cuts to rural hospitals, which are disproportionately harm rural hospitals because of the ACA.
Join us in San Diego for our Annual Rural Health Conference to learn more about NRHA's vision for health care reform and how you can help our efforts!