House Leadership Strips Rural Provision from Final Health Reform Bill

Rural America has historically been underrepresented on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), despite a statutory requirement for proportional rural representation on its board.  Recognizing this inconsistency, Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) successfully added two amendments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s markup of H.R. 3200, the House Tri-Committee’s original health reform legislation.  The amendments were to ensure proportional representation on both the MedPAC board of Commissioners as well as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee proposed in the current bill. These two amendments were a positive step in ensuring rural America’s seat at the table when developing our nation’s Medicare and health care payment decisions.  In the process of conferencing on the final bill during, however, the House leadership stripped both of these provisions from its final version.  The exclusion of these requirements, which originally garnered broad bi-partisan support and were accepted in the Committee unanimously, could put rural America at a significant disadvantage during future policymaking efforts.   The NRHA urges the House leadership to consider the implications of excluding these provisions from H.R. 3962, the Affordable Healthcare for America Act, and include them as the Energy and Commerce Committee intended during its markup of the bill.

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