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Boucher to hold town meeting on health care reform

Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher will hold a public town meeting on proposed health care reform Tuesday.
According to Boucher’s website, the meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. at Edwards Hall on the New River Community College Campus in Dublin. The meeting is one of two the congressman is slated to hold. The second meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.
According to a July statement on his website concerning health care, Boucher says he supports health care reform, “but the bill before us is a long way from where I think it needs to be.”
Boucher points out that more than 47 million Americans do not have health insurance and millions more are underinsured “and cannot afford to pay for the medical care they need.”
However, he goes on to say he is “skeptical” of a government-operated plan.
“I prefer the creation of a health care cooperative, owned and operated by its members, which would compete with private, for-profit health care plans,” he said in the statement. “As a non-profit, the cooperative would effectively serve as a check on the cost of health insurance generally.”
Boucher said a cooperative rather than a public plan also would increase the likelihood of obtaining bi-partisan support for health care reform.
“On a matter of this scope and importance to all Americans, I think that every reasonable effort should be made to enlist our Republican colleagues in drafting and passing the bill,” he added.
Nonetheless, if a public plan is ultimately approved, he believes its reimbursements to health care providers shouldn’t be based on Medicare’s rates.
“The hospitals in my district and across rural America struggle financially,” Boucher said. “Medicare does not currently pay them what it costs to provide patient care.”
As a result, he adds, the hospitals have to depend upon patients with private insurance plans to “remain financially viable.
“If a public plan using Medicare reimbursement rates undermines the private insurance market, the struggling rural hospitals could close,” he said.
Boucher supports reform of the health care system because society as a whole is bearing the cost of the current system and it is “unsustainable.”
“Due to the cost shifting that comes from treating the uninsured in emergency rooms, the costs imposed on private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid are enormous and are growing each year as the numbers of uninsured Americans increases.
“We need to assure affordable access to health care for all Americans. The cost of taking that step will be less than the cost of doing nothing,” he concludes.
Boucher describes his town meetings as “non-partisan public meetings where we discuss matters of current interest, including federal legislation I am sponsoring, and matters of interest in the locality in which the meeting is being held.”

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Boucher to hold town meeting on health care reform

Ninth District Congressman Rick Boucher will hold a public town meeting on proposed health care reform Tuesday.
According to Boucher’s website, the meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. at Edwards Hall on the New River Community College Campus in Dublin. The meeting is one of two the congressman is slated to hold. The second meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon.
According to a July statement on his website concerning health care, Boucher says he supports health care reform, “but the bill before us is a long way from where I think it needs to be.”
Boucher points out that more than 47 million Americans do not have health insurance and millions more are underinsured “and cannot afford to pay for the medical care they need.”
However, he goes on to say he is “skeptical” of a government-operated plan.
“I prefer the creation of a health care cooperative, owned and operated by its members, which would compete with private, for-profit health care plans,” he said in the statement. “As a non-profit, the cooperative would effectively serve as a check on the cost of health insurance generally.”
Boucher said a cooperative rather than a public plan also would increase the likelihood of obtaining bi-partisan support for health care reform.
“On a matter of this scope and importance to all Americans, I think that every reasonable effort should be made to enlist our Republican colleagues in drafting and passing the bill,” he added.
Nonetheless, if a public plan is ultimately approved, he believes its reimbursements to health care providers shouldn’t be based on Medicare’s rates.
“The hospitals in my district and across rural America struggle financially,” Boucher said. “Medicare does not currently pay them what it costs to provide patient care.”
As a result, he adds, the hospitals have to depend upon patients with private insurance plans to “remain financially viable.
“If a public plan using Medicare reimbursement rates undermines the private insurance market, the struggling rural hospitals could close,” he said.
Boucher supports reform of the health care system because society as a whole is bearing the cost of the current system and it is “unsustainable.”
“Due to the cost shifting that comes from treating the uninsured in emergency rooms, the costs imposed on private health insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid are enormous and are growing each year as the numbers of uninsured Americans increases.
“We need to assure affordable access to health care for all Americans. The cost of taking that step will be less than the cost of doing nothing,” he concludes.
Boucher describes his town meetings as “non-partisan public meetings where we discuss matters of current interest, including federal legislation I am sponsoring, and matters of interest in the locality in which the meeting is being held.”

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