The district that I represent in North Florida is predominantly rural, and I have seen firsthand the unique challenges that these communities face when it comes to access to quality, affordable healthcare.  Currently, rural hospitals and clinics are struggling due to inadequate reimbursement rates and physician shortages.  Also, folks in rural areas often have to travel hours to the nearest healthcare facility.  Too often rural communities are left out of national policy decisions, and this must change.

Yesterday, I joined my colleagues, Reps. Pomeroy and Walden of the Rural Health Care Coalition, to introduce new legislation to improve access to healthcare services in rural America.  The Healthcare Access and Rural Equity (H-Care) Act (HR 6030) is comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that helps to stabilize elements of our nation's rural healthcare infrastructure and correct many inadequacies in the current system.  Specifically, this legislation raises reimbursement rates to rural health clinics, extends several expiring Medicare payments for rural practitioners, and increases payments for rural ground ambulance services.  I encourage all of my colleagues to support HR 6030 so we can better meet the needs of our constituents in rural areas.