Democratic Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer of Dubuque is sponsoring legislation aimed at increasing pay for rural doctors.
“Iowa doctors have been shortchanged by a government formula that underestimates the cost of labor and practice expenses,” Finkenauer says.
Doctors in rural areas are paid far less for the care they provide elderly Medicare patients. The formula is meant to account for cost-of-living differences, but Iowa doctors say it’s not covering all their expenses.
“For two decades, our health care providers have asked for an accurate formula,” Finkenauer says, “one that allows them to stay open and keep serving their patients.”
Dr. Brian Privett, the president-elect of the Iowa Medical Society, joined Finkenauer at a Cedar Rapids hospital to discuss the issue.
“Without immediate action, Iowa will fall further in the competition to recruit the next generation of physicians,” he said, “and our seniors will face greater difficulty in accessing necessary medical care.”
According to Finkenauer, Iowa doctors have the seventh-lowest Medicare reimbursement rate in the country.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Kate Payne)