Tipton Raises Concerns that Affordable Care Act Diminishes Access to Rural Health Care

WASHINGTON—Today, Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives to underscore that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the House voted to repeal last week, will hurt access to quality care in rural America, as well as drive up health care costs for families and small businesses.

Watch Tipton on the House floor

“We have a system, Mr. Speaker, which completely forgot the original premise that every American, I believe, can agree on; we need to have real reform. But we need to go back to that initial premise of affordability and accessibility. The ACA fails on both levels,” said Tipton.  “We’re seeing right now, in my home state of Colorado, estimates for individual insurance policies this year are going to go up an estimated 23 percent or more. For small businesses, who are trying to provide group insurance, are seeing their costs go up this year at an estimated 17% or more. Have we achieved affordability as was promised? We have not.”

Many families will experience an increase in health insurance. In Colorado, health insurance premiums are anticipated to increase as much as 25 percent for individual plans and 17 percent in the small group market according to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

During a recent meeting with Tipton, Delta County Memorial Hospital officials stated that because rural areas oftentimes have a disproportionally higher number of Medicare and Medicaid patients, it is difficult to retain and recruit new physicians—because low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates translate to lower physician salaries. This effect is compounded under the ACA, which Delta County Memorial Hospital anticipates will increase the number of Medicaid patients, further straining already limited resources and forcing many physicians to stop accepting any new Medicare and Medicaid patients.

“We’re seeing reimbursements to doctors drop at Delta Memorial Hospital, making it harder for the physicians to deliver that service. These are small hospitals, they don’t have HR departments. They’re just here for the health of the community.  But they are seeing many challenges in being able to continue and in fact in many of our rural hospitals they’re beginning to wonder if they’re going to be able to continue to deliver that service,” said Tipton. “I’ve talked to doctors in Delta, Montrose, Grand Junction, Pueblo, throughout my entire district, who are frustrated that they are seeing their reimbursements, money that they need to be able to have to be able to conduct their business, being cut by the federal government. The Federal government determining what the value of that service is going to be, and say that you can simply afford it. That’s not real life.”