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NRHA applauds House passage of vital rural health programs, asks Senate to act now

Today, the House passed HR 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, with a strong bipartisan vote of 392 to 37. The President has indicated he will sign this bill into law when it reaches his desk. Though strong support for the bill is building in the Senate, they have yet to schedule a vote. And they will begin a two-week recess this week, not returning until the after the March 31 deadline has passed on these programs that are critical to rural patients and providers. The passage of HR 2 in the House is the first step to ensuring the seamless continuation of multiple programs of importance to rural America. The bill provides for a repeal of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and to replace it with a payment system that promotes a higher quality of care. Of particular importance to rural America, it also includes a two-year extension of the Low-Volume Hospital adjustments, Medicare-Dependent Hospital program, work geographic index floor under the Medicare physician fee schedule, current rural and super-rural ambulance add-on payments, exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps, community health centers, National Health Service Corps teaching health centers, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But we need the Senate to act quickly. Call your senators today. Let them know just how important these programs are for rural Americans. Tell Congress to pass HR 2 before recess.

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