Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, today introduced legislation he says will help Iowa and other rural states when it comes to reimbursement for Medicare. Braley says it will increase reimbursement rates for doctors in rural states which "have been penalized in the past because of the efficiencies of the physicians and the quality of their practice."
Braley says the lower reimbursement rates have led new doctors to stay away and those already practicing to move out of Iowa. He says it’s particularly important when you look at the high student loan rates medical students accrue as they get their education.
Mike Abrams of the Iowa Medical Society joined Braley on his weekly conference call with reporters. Abrams says the Medicare reimbursement formula is not only important to Medicare providers, but it also applies to private payers, and would have a "very,very positive impact on healthcare in the state of Iowa that extends beyond the half-a-million Medicare beneficiaries."
Abrams says Iowa is sixth in the nation in the percentage of Medicare participants, and 44th in number of doctors per population, making it tough to lure doctors to the state. Abrams says when you’re recruiting an orthopedic surgeon to Iowa for example, and that recruit knows about the number of Medicare patients, it creates a tough recruiting situation. Braley says his bill is a bipartisan effort.