Good quality, affordable health care shouldn’t depend on your zip code

The challenges of getting good quality, affordable health care is a topic I hear about wherever I go in my district in Pennsylvania. As a member of the bipartisan Rural Health Caucus, I am constantly working to find ways to expand and protect access to care for all members of our community – because your health care should not depend on where you live. Live. This is a problem that matters to Democrats, and it matters to Republicans, too. And this is a problem that we have to work together to solve.

Nearly 60 million individuals live in rural communities across the United States, including more than one-third of Pennsylvanians. Across my district, access to health care in rural parts is a recurring challenge, although I am pleased to see our two hospital networks expand into more rural areas. These communities are facing a shortage of health care providers – in fact, 26 percent of rural Pennsylvanians live in a federally designated health professional shortage area. Making the situation more serious, 30 percent of physicians currently practicing in rural areas intend to leave the workforce in the next five years. This is a big issue for access to preventive care, which is important for overall health and well-being.

That’s why Representative Dan Meuser (R-Pa.) and I are pushing to pass our bill, the Bipartisan Fairness for Rural Teaching Hospitals Act. This bill would update the calculations used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that rural teaching hospitals receive high, fair reimbursement for the work they do in training the next generation of rural physicians. Finding – This work is critical in combating the shortage of health care providers in our communities.

Ensuring that our rural hospitals get the funding they need is key to attracting, training and retaining talented health care professionals for every community, so that people who need quality and affordable health care can get it , no matter where they live.

In addition to ensuring that there are providers serving rural areas, we need to prevent discrimination against hospitals and clinics that participate in the 340B drug pricing program, which many rural communities rely on for lower prescription drug prices. Are dependent. Under no circumstances should pharmacy benefit managers, insurance companies, or pharmaceutical companies be allowed to undercut affordable savings for American families – that’s why I’m supporting the bipartisan Protect 340B Act that would allow them to protect patients’ Will prevent choices from being narrowed down.

Furthermore, at a time when health care increasingly takes place outside of hospitals and doctors’ offices, we must expand access to affordable high-speed Internet. Telehealth appointments offer flexibility and convenience that is attractive to many patients – but these appointments require a reliable internet connection, which our rural areas often do not have access to. The Affordable Connectivity Program, created by bipartisan infrastructure legislation, is working to tackle this problem by providing broadband subsidies to more than 36,000 homes in Pennsylvania’s 7th District, as is $1.2 billion to fund broadband infrastructure across our Commonwealth. Bipartisan infrastructure legislation funding is coming. , I’m advocating to make sure these investments in high-speed internet happen in every corner of my district, and I’m pushing to make internet access affordable for all Pennsylvania families so that telehealth services are also accessible.

I believe that health care is a human right, and every person deserves access to good quality, affordable health care – no matter their ZIP code. I will always continue to fight to ensure that my community, and every community, can see a doctor, afford their medications, and have the peace of mind that comes with quality health care. No one deserves less.

Susan Wild represents Pennsylvania’s 7th district.

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