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SGR replacement package continues to move forward

The House rules committee met this afternoon to discuss HR 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. This bipartisan bill will repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and replace it with a payment system that promotes a higher quality of care, developed as a result of bipartisan, bicameral agreement. It extends important rural Medicare extenders and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. H.R. 2 is expected to be on the House floor first thing tomorrow, with a vote anticipated just after noon. The President has said he’s ready to sign this bill into law. The Senate has yet to schedule a vote. HR 2 includes multiple important programs for rural America. The bill includes a two-year extension of rural Medicare extenders such as 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, and exceptions process for Medicare therapy caps. Without congressional actions, these extenders expire on March 31. The bill also extends funding for two years to community health centers, National Health Service Corps and teaching health centers. The National Rural Health Association has diligently worked to get the message to Congress of the importance of rural health care. And based on the inclusion of so many programs of importance to rural America, Congress has heard us. Now, we need your help. Contact your member of Congress today. Let them know just how important these programs are for rural Americans. Tell Congress to act before the March 31 deadline to pass HR 2.

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