Arrington Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Support Rural Health Care Providers
Washington DC, June 8, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC— Today, Rep. Jodey Arrington (TX-19) and his Democrat colleagues introduced the Accountable Care In Rural America Act. This legislation would improve the performance standards for health care providers who participate in Medicare’s Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) which are part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program. ACOs encourage hospitals, physicians, and other providers to work together to lower costs and improve the quality of health care for patients. The rural glitch is a flaw in the program that forces all ACOs to measure their performance against themselves and disproportionately impacts rural providers, discouraging providers from participating.
“ACOs were created to move our healthcare delivery system towards value-based care, which incentivizes quality over quantity and rewards providers who lower the cost of care,” said Rep. Arrington. “Rural providers should have the same opportunities as their urban counterparts to participate in value-based payment models, and I believe this legislation will empower providers, reduce healthcare costs, and keep rural America healthy and strong.”
“The Accountable Care in Rural America Act helps create a level playing field for rural ACOs. This bill corrects an unintended flaw in Medicare policy that undermines the success of alternative payment models in rural America, at a time we need to encourage participation in payment reform,” said Clif Gaus, Sc.D., NAACOS president and CEO. “NAACOS thanks Reps. Arrington and his bipartisan colleagues.”
“This bill is critical for regions like Northern California—regions that are already ahead of the curve in terms of providing quality and efficient health care,” said Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA-7). “This legislation rewards Sacramento health care providers for continuing to find ways to improve the health of my constituents, instead of the current policies that put them at a disadvantage because the region has been innovative in the past.”
“Medicare’s ACO program has shown significant promise to lower health care spending while improving the quality of care for seniors and we need to be looking at policies that encourage participation,” said Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01). “Fixing the rural glitch is a practical and meaningful change that will make the program fairer, especially for rural providers who can be disproportionately impacted by the current benchmark methodology. This change will also make it fairer for providers who are already delivering efficient care like those in Washington state. I believe fixing the rural glitch will encourage more providers to participate in the ACO program which will be a benefit to seniors and taxpayers alike.”
“The Medicare ACO program is an important tool for providers to increase the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL-02). “Many of my constituents in Florida’s Second District live in rural communities and often struggle to find convenient medical care close by. The Accountable Care in Rural America Act evens the playing field so rural providers can enjoy the same incentives to participate in the shared savings program. This bill is a win for seniors and providers in rural communities.”
“Rural communities need affordable and reliable healthcare now more than ever,” said Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX-05). “This legislation will level the playing field for rural Medicare providers, ensuring patients in our area receive the best possible care.”
“For too long, the nationwide gap in quality of care between rural and urban America has disadvantaged families across Arizona's First District, many of whom are older, lower income, and must often travel hundreds of miles to receive even basic medical treatment,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-1). “Our Accountable Care in Rural America Act will fix an outdated formula that disproportionately harms rural providers and assist them to more easily work together to deliver the accessible care that Arizonans need.”
“This bipartisan legislation will ensure rural medical providers can offer value-based care to their patients at a lower cost and higher quality across this country,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA-16). “I’m proud to join my colleagues in the fight to improve health care options for rural communities.”
“As the Representative for Alabama’s rural Black Belt, I am all too familiar with the devastating impact of health care disparities between urban and rural areas. We must ensure that our health care system does not punish rural providers and the patients they serve,” said Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Al-07). “I’m proud to support the Accountable Care in Rural America Act so that those in Alabama’s 7th District and all across the country receive the quality, affordable health care they deserve.”
Congressman Jodey Arrington is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives serving the Nineteenth Congressional District of Texas. He serves as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.