NRHA Blog

1 person recommends this.
The U.S. House Committee on Small Business’ Subcommittees on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade and Health and Technology held a joint hearing today on the importance of rural health and telehealth to help and support rural communities. NRHA President David Schmitz, MD, testified on how federal investments in rural health care help ensure that rural health care thrives leading to healthy communities and sustainable their communities Dr. Schmitz explained how improving access to care by investing in rural health care—from workforce to telehealth—is a means to bolster the local economy and must be a priority for both the Administration and Congress. “Rural health ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) does not appear to be moving forward. As of last night, four Republican senators - Mike Lee (Utah), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Rand Paul (Kentucky) and Susan Collins (Maine) - publicly stated they would oppose the revised version of the BCRA, leaving the bill short of the 50 votes required to proceed. As a result, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pivoted to a strategy of moving just a repeal bill using the text from a 2015 repeal bill that passed the House and Senate (and was vetoed by then President Obama). ( https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3762 ). However, at least three Republican Senators ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
NRHA CEO Alan Morgan just spoke with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price regarding proposed regulations just released by HHS for the Hospital Outpatient, Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System. In this conversation, Secretary Price made a commitment to prioritize rural hospitals and health care. NRHA is pleased this proposed rule addresses one of our major regulatory concerns, the supervision requirement for outpatient therapy services by providing a two-year moratorium on enforcement.   Additionally, Secretary Price discussed a proposed change to the 340B drug discount program. This program currently provides discounted outpatient drugs ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Senate released their revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA)  today .   While the National Rural Health Association is pleased the bill includes an additional $100 billion to help low-income Americans buy coverage and to combat the opioid epidemic, we are disappointed that the BCRA still falls woefully short in making health care affordable and accessible to rural Americans. The bill maintains some of the provisions that led to NRHA's opposition of the original language. The bill is expected to be reviewed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this weekend, with an estimate (also known as a score) of the impact of the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The House Appropriations Committee released its draft Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill. The draft bill is funded at $156 billion, $5 billion below the Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) enacted levels. The HHS portion of the bill is $77.6 billion, $542 million below FY17 enacted levels, but $14.5 billion above the President’s budget request. A summary of the bill is available here , and full bill text is available here .   While we do not have all of the details about the many important rural programs, the budget does fund the Flex grant program at $43.6 million and for State Office of Rural Health at $10 million, both are the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Senate has delayed a vote until after the July 4th recess on the  Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA), the Senate version of the health care reform bill passed by the House. The National Rural Health Association urges the Senate to vote no on the BCRA .  The Senate had an opportunity to fix the great inequities in the ACA for rural America , but instead has offered a plan that will lead to more uninsured, greater health disparities and ultimately poorer health outcomes for rural populations nationwide. Additionally, the Better Care Reconciliation Act will be the death sentence for many rural hospitals across the country. Rural hospitals ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The National Rural Health Association is concerned that the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 falls woefully short in making health care affordable and accessible to rural Americans. The Better Care Reconciliation Act will hurt vulnerable populations in rural Americans, leaving millions of the sickest, most underserved populations in our nation without coverage, and further escalating the rural hospital closure crisis.   Let’s be clear – many provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) failed rural America. The lack of plan competition in rural markets, exorbitant premiums, deductibles and co-pays, the co-op collapses, lack of Medicaid ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The National Rural Health Association is disappointed the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, the recently released Senate version of the House passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), did not address NRHA's concerns with the AHCA nor shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Neither of the bills address the loss of access to care in rural America or include the three reforms that are needed to remedy the state of rural health in America. It is critical you contact your Senators now and tell them to vote no on the Better Care bill . Tell your Senators that rural health care access and coverage can be dramatically and cost-effectively improved ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Senate released their version of the House passed American Health Care Act entitled the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The text of the bill can be found here .  While the bill appears to have some changes from the House version, the bill maintains some of the provisions that led to NRHA's opposition. NRHA is disappointed that the bill includes deep Medicaid cuts that change the program from an open-ended federal commitment to a capped federal payment that limits federal spending, leaving either states, patients, or providers to struggle with the loss of funds. The Medicaid expansion is also eliminated, being phased out over a four-year period ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Nearly 80 rural hospitals have closed since 2010 , and 673 additional facilities are vulnerable to closure — representing over 1/3 of rural hospitals in the U.S. Continued cuts to hospital payments have taken their toll, forcing closures, creating medical deserts across rural America and leaving many of our nation’s most vulnerable populations without timely access to care. That’s why the National Rural Health Association supports the bipartisan Save Rural Hospitals Act , reintroduced today to the 115 th Congress by U.S Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). The bipartisan bill will stabilize and strengthen rural hospitals by: ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The National Rural Health Association urges the Senate to protect rural Americans’ access to health care and to vote no on the American Health Care Act (AHCA). NRHA does not support the AHCA and has called on members of Congress to vote no on this legislation. While many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not working in rural America, the AHCA does not address the problems and instead provides coverage for fewer rural Americans leading to poorer rural health outcomes and an increase in the rural hospital closure crisis. If the AHCA is passed in its current form, CBO estimates this bill will result in 23 million fewer people with health insurance ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Your Senators and Representatives are back in the district and many are holding town halls. Take advantage of the Congressional recess by reaching out to your elected official to discuss  rural health issues that are important to you. Talking points to tell your member of Congress: Health care reform has not worked 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 have created a health care access and coverage crisis in rural America. 70% of the 650 counties with only one insurer on the exchange ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) today released an analysis, also know as a score, of the American Health Care Act passed earlier this month by the House and currently under consideration in the Senate. CBO estimates this bill will result in 23 million fewer people with health insurance over 10 years and would reduce the deficit by $119 billion over 10 years, mainly a result of cuts to the Medicaid program.  The CBO determined that the controversial amendment that would allow states to waive certain regulations about what insurance plans must cover and would allow states to charge people more based on their health status would result in slightly ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
At a time when rural hospital closures are escalating, and one in three rural hospitals is at financial risk of closing, President Trump’s budget delivers a fatal blow to the rural health care safety net. Catastrophic cuts to the rural health safety net proposed in Trump's budget  include: Elimination Rural Hospital Flex Grants; Drastic cuts in Rural Hospital Outreach Grants; Elimination of State Offices of Rural Health; Drastic cuts in Rural Telehealth funding; Drastic cuts in Rural Health Policy Development; Devastating $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years; Drastic cuts in mental health funding; and Drastic cuts ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
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 ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The House is expected to vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) today. The National Rural Health Association does not support the AHCA and calls on members of Congress to vote no on this legislation. Many provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not working effectively in rural America. Unfortunately, the AHCA does nothing to address these problems and instead provides coverage for fewer rural Americans leading to poorer rural health outcomes and an increase in the rural hospital closure crisis. For these reasons, NRHA has submitted a letter to House leadership outlining our concerns on this legislation. NRHA has continued to meet with ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Improving our nation’s rural healthcare system begins with good public policy. On April 28 th , Shepherd University hosted a seminar on rural health policy, while also formally launching a new rural policy internship opportunity for the University students. The forum, titled “Training a New Generation to Ensure Affordable, Quality Rural Healthcare,” included an announcement of two new internships, for ten years (though 2027) at the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) or Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP). The internships are designed to help teams of Shepherd University students and their faculty mentors learn about rural health policy, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill today. The legislation includes funding through September 30, 2017 - the end of the fiscal year - and prevents a government shutdown. The National Rural Health Association is pleased that critical rural health care safety net programs are funded. Under the omnibus bill, the Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant Program receives an additional $2 million and directs HRSA to give preference in grant awards to Critical Access Hospitals serving rural communities with high rates of poverty, unemployment and substance abuse. The bill also provides additional funding for telehealth ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which was modified this week to include a provision that would allow states to waive essential health benefits such as maternity care and emergency room visits, has been delayed until next week at the earliest. NRHA opposes the AHCA. This bill falls woefully short in making health care affordable and accessible to rural Americans. In fact, the bill will lead to poorer rural health outcomes, more uninsured and an increase in the rural hospital closure crisis. Many provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are not working effectively in rural America. Unfortunately, the AHCA does nothing to address these ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
The National Rural Health Association applauds President Donald Trump's Executive Order establishing a White House Rural Task Force. He will sign the order today. "Since the day after the election, NRHA has strongly urged President Trump to make rural health care a priority in the Administration and to build upon the White House Rural Council established under President Obama," said Alan Morgan, NRHA CEO. "President Trump is taking the first important step in that direction by creating the White House Rural Task Force." The well-intentioned White House Rural Council under the Obama Administration made important inroads but left much work undone. This new ...
0 comments