NRHA's Rural Health Voices blog offers informed commentary on the latest news in rural health care from NRHA staff and editorials from selected contributors.

NRHA Sends Letter to Congressional Leaders Regarding Rural Representation on New Deficit Reduction Panel

The National Rural Health Association sent the following letter to leaders of both houses of Congress today regarding appointments to the new deficit reduction panel authorized by the Budget Control Act of 2011. NRHA urges you to contact your elected officials now to further explain the need for rural representation on this panel. Dear Leader Reid, Speaker Boehner, Leader McConnell and Leader Pelosi, As you know, the Budget Control Act of 2011 included a provision establishing a new...

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Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Compromise Legislation

The Senate today passed a bipartisan debt ceiling compromise by a vote of 74-26.  The legislation will now be sent to the President for his signature.  The agreement, which operates in two parts, would raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion immediately.  Medicare and Medicaid would not be impacted by these initial cuts.  Despite information that Medicare payments to rural hospitals could be reduced by roughly $14 billion, NRHA and others were successful in lobbying Congress to make sure that...

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Agreement reached in debt ceiling debate

Yesterday, Congressional Leaders and the White House reached a deal that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling, averting a first-ever default by the United States.  In addition to increasing the federal borrowing limit, the plan also included substantial deficit reduction measures. The agreement, which operates in two parts, would raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion immediately in August and September.  Medicare and Medicaid would not be impacted by these initial cuts...

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President Announces Completion of Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling

President Obama announced late Sunday evening that a deal to raise the debt ceiling had been reached by the White House and House Republican Leadership.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated that he had signed off on the agreement and said that a vote Sunday evening on the proposal was possible in the Senate.  It remains to be seen if rank and file Republicans will approve the deal. Specifics of the deal are still being released.  The original increase in the debt ceiling would...

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NRHA Meets with White House Rural Council Chair

NRHA CEO Alan Morgan participated in a meeting today with United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who serves as Chair of the newly created White House Rural Council. Representatives of more than twenty national rural organizations also attended the White House meeting, and included Doug McKalip, of the White House Domestic Policy Council and Jon Carson, Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The purpose of the meeting was to allow for an open...

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Rumors of "Big Deal" Resurface

After extensive development of debt ceiling increase plans by Senators Reid and McConnell as well as the recently released "Gang of Six" proposal, rumors surfaced Thursday afternoon that President Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner had rekindled talks of a large deficit reduction-debt ceiling increase deal.  President Obama and Speaker Boehner abandoned talks of a $4 trillion deal in recent weeks after both sides grew concerned that tax increases and entitlement cuts were too large to...

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Rumors of "Big Deal" Resurface

After extensive development of debt ceiling increase plans by Senators Reid and McConnell as well as the recently released "Gang of Six" proposal, rumors surfaced Thursday afternoon that President Obama and Speaker of the House Boehner had rekindled talks of a large deficit reduction-debt ceiling increase deal.  President Obama and Speaker Boehner abandoned talks of a $4 trillion deal in recent weeks after both sides grew concerned that tax increases and entitlement cuts were too large to...

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Update: Health Profession Shortage Areas

The Health Resources Services Administration Negotiated Rulemaking Committee continued work this week in Washington DC. The Committee’s purpose is to reconsider how Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) are designated for the purposes of Federal programs. Today, new models were identified for HPSAs and MUA/Ps but much, much work remains to be done. These models can now be further tested and modified to capture underserved areas as the committee...

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Short-Term Debt Limit Increase Possible if Long-Term Deal Imminent

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed today that President Obama would sign a short-term increase in the debt ceiling if Congress agreed to pass a long-term, "significant" deficit reduction plan.  If a short-term increase was asked for, the White House maintains that the President would only agree to an extension of a "few days". Senate leaders from both political parties expressed skepticism earlier this week that proposals put forward by the "Gang of Six" would have enough...

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Health Profession Shortage Areas

"The reality is that some places will be losing (shortage) designations, some will be gaining." said Edward Salsberg, HRSA, in the opening comments to the negotiated rule making committee today. The Health Resources Services Administration Negotiated Rulemaking Committee began meeting again this week in Washington DC. The Committee’s purpose is to reconsider how Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) and Medically Underserved Areas (MUA) are designated for the purposes of Federal...

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