Bipartisan Senate group criticizes Obama's hospital cuts

"Rural hospitals have already experienced significant Medicare reimbursement cuts recently," the lawmakers said. "Enacting the President's proposals would be further detrimental to CAHs throughout the country — impeding their ability to provide high-quality care."

Obama's budget proposes removing the "critical access" designation from hospitals that are within 10 miles of another hospital. The senators, in a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said the 10-mile proposal is "arbitrary" and doesn't take into account the services provided at each facility.

"We strongly support smart, targeted Medicare reforms that will reduce costs and maintain high quality of care. This proposal does not qualify," the senators wrote.

Twelve Democrats signed the letter, including Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska).