Rural Nebraska facing health-care worries

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Rural health care providers met Tuesday with Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., in Grand Island. They expressed concerns about federal government policies that hinder rural residents from receiving the health-care services they need.

The providers were asking Smith to support a bipartisan House bill that would provide relief to rural and non-bid areas impacted by the national expansion of competitive bidding. They also sought Smith’s support to rectify “double-dip” cuts on oxygen.

The House bill would roll back the second round of cuts for non-bid area suppliers, effective retroactively to Jan. 1, 2017, and through 2018.

It would also address rate cuts caused by the misapplication of a 2006 budget neutrality offset balancing increased use of oxygen-generating portable equipment with lower reimbursement for stationary equipment.

They also asked for Smith’s support to keep manual power chair accessories out of competitive bidding legislation.

Competitive bidding is a program where suppliers bid in large urban, metro areas on health-care products. It comes into play in rural America because Medicare prices set in the large urban areas also apply to noncompetitively bid…

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