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Fed Pledges to Rural Providers Strike the Right Notes

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 6, 2013

Sebelius, the former governor of Kansas, told the teleconference that the reforms are a response to the feedback generated by the White House rural stakeholder meeting last spring.

"We understand that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to healthcare and this reflects that understanding," Sebelius says. "For rural providers, the proposals not only save money, they will help ensure that doctors and nurses have more time to devout to their patients."

Sebelius asked rural providers to help CMS educate the 8.5 million uninsured people in rural America who may be eligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

"Starting October 1, new health insurance marketplaces open for enrollment. Expanding access isn't enough. We need your help to reach out to your communities to get people signed up," she says. "We know that a lot of people are so used to being locked out or priced out of the market, they don't even think about coverage anymore."

"There are also a lot of uninsured young people who may not understand why health insurance is important for their future," she says.

"Reaching them is about more than ensuring that everyone has a chance to get healthy and get the care they need. It's also about reducing the burden of uncompensated care and making sure that fewer people show up in our emergency rooms with illnesses that could have been prevented. The more successful we are in getting people enrolled the more we will reduce the strain on providers and hospitals across the country."

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