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Senate no longer scheduled to vote on health care repeal bill.

The latest push to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC) and Bill Cassidy (LA) will not receive a vote in the Senate, ending the current effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act using the budget reconciliation process that would have allowed a bill to pass with 50 votes. While NRHA does support empowering states to make their own decisions on the health care needs of their population, NRHA opposed the Graham-Cassidy bill because of the potential to harm rural patients and providers.

NRHA has long fought for Congress to address the many provisions in the ACA that have failed rural America including the lack of plan competition in rural markets, exorbitant premiums, deductibles and co-pays, the co-op collapses, lack of Medicaid expansion, and devastating Medicare cuts to rural providers. Unfortunately, the Graham-Cassidy bill failed to address the needs of rural America.

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) cited the great danger of rural hospital closures as one of her major reasons for not supporting the Graham-Cassidy Bill. “If Medicaid is cut [Charles A Dean Hospital in Greenville Maine] will not survive,” Collins said. “It’s the biggest employer in town. It has 180 good-paying jobs. So not only would people lose access to health care that they need, it would be a devastating blow to the community. You could go all over the state and find that would be true.”

NRHA encourages Congress to seek bipartisan solutions to the problems faced by rural providers in continuing to provide the necessary local care their communities rely upon. If Congress does not act to protect rural patients’ access to care, decades of efforts could rapidly be undone and vulnerable rural patients will be left without essential local access to the care they need.

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