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Grassroots Support Needed for Medicare Extenders

S. 2110, the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014 will likely come to the Senate Floor next week.  This bill, introduced by Senate Finance chairman Ron Wyden late last week, is modified from previous Senate legislation but is similar to a strong rural bill that was reported out of the Senate Finance committee last December.  S. 2110 contains a permanent fix to the SGR and includes all rural Medicare extenders (the Work geographic adjustment, Medicare payment for therapy services, Medicare ambulance services, the Medicare Dependent Hospital program and the Low Volume Hospital adjustment) and make all but the ambulance provisions permanent. The bill’s passage is in doubt and strong grassroots support is needed.  A likely partisan fight will occur over how to pay-for the bill.  (Democrats support using savings from the scaling down of overseas conflicts and Republicans support eliminating the health insurance mandate in the ACA).  Ranking Finance member, Orrin Hatch introduced a Republican bill (S.2122) which also contains the rural Medicare extenders but utilizes the ACA cuts as a pay-for. Sixty Senators will be needed to support this bill for passage.  NRHA continues to work with Members of Congress to ensure that these important rural Medicare programs are continued in legislation aimed at updating the SGR and that any future offsets do not harm rural providers. NRHA requests you contact your Senators while they are in their states during this week’s congressional recess.  Urge your Senator to support legislation that contains permanent extension of critical rural health Medicare funding; and not “pay-for” the SGR fix out of the pocket of rural providers.  Attend town halls or other public meetings or simple call or go to their district offices. For more additional information visit our Congressional Action Kit.    

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