Thursday, July 23, 2009

Carrying the rural flag in the context of health care reform

A story in today's NYT, "Concerns on Plan Show Clashing Goals," discusses the current proposal to remake the health care system. The authors note the concerns of several law makers, and this part of the story, which attends to the rural, caught my eye:
Representative Mike Ross, Democrat of Arkansas, wants to reduce or eliminate the disparities in what Medicare pays for health services in rural areas versus urban centers, a gap that he says has forced hospitals to close and doctors to move away.

* * *

... Mr. Ross said that addressing long-term costs was just one area of concern for the Blue Dogs. They also want to reduce or eliminate the disparity in Medicare payments that result in lower rates for health providers in rural areas.

Mr. Ross said his hometown, Prescott [population 3,686], now has three doctors — down from six — and that private insurers in Arkansas pay 30 percent more than Medicare, making doctors reluctant to accept new Medicare patients.

No comments: