The National Rural Health Association (NRHA) is calling it "a huge step for rural America." Congressman Walden's amendment, adopted unanimously earlier today, ensures proportional representation for rural America on the committee that advises on Medicare policy, and on a new committee in the House healthcare bill that would determine minimum benefits in a government plan. NRHA's brief on the news is below:
House E&C Amends HR 3200 to Ensure Rural Represenation -- July 31, 2009
Rural champion Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR-2), representing Oregon's second Congressional district, successfully added an amendment to HR 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, during today's markup of the bill in the Energy and Commerce Committee. The amendment, which received a unanimous vote, ensures proportional rural representation on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) or on the proposed federal Medicare advisory committee that is likely to be created as a result of the bill's final passage. This amendment is a huge step for rural America, which has traditionally been underrepresented in MedPAC despite statutory requirements that a "balance" of its commissioners have rural expertise. Currently only two of the 17 MedPAC commissioners have significant rural experience, despite the fact that rural America is home to over 25 percent of Medicare beneficiaries. Please join NRHA in thanking Congressman Walden and every member of the Energy and Commerce Committee for their support for rural health.