Bipartisan bill to support rural Medicare beneficiaries sponsored by Cole

Bipartisan legislation offered by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) last week would ensure Medicare beneficiaries aren’t financially penalized for accessing healthcare close to home.

The Fairness for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Act, H.R. 5660, which Rep. Cole sponsored with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), would change an existing policy that requires Medicare beneficiaries at rural critical access hospitals to pay more in coinsurance than patients who receive the same care at larger acute care hospitals, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Cole’s office.

“I am proud to join my colleague Congressman Ron Kind in introducing bipartisan legislation that improves access and affordability of hospitals for older Americans living in rural communities,” said Rep. Cole, ranking member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. “Specifically, our commonsense bill, the Fairness for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Act, brings needed parity for Medicare beneficiaries to the costs associated with receiving care, whether that is in a rural or urban facility.”

“Critical access hospitals serve families across Wisconsin, especially in rural regions, but many Medicare beneficiaries are stuck paying higher prices just because of where they obtain care,” added Rep. Kind. “The Fairness for Rural Medicare Beneficiaries Act will help right this wrong.”

The National Rural Health Association, the Oklahoma Hospital Association, and SSM Health endorsed the bill, which has been referred to both the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee and the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.