July 12, 2017

Heitkamp speaks about rural health concerns

By Daniel Arens

A new hospital in Hazen provides updated technology and a more comprehensive layout for services. But many challenges remain facing rural North Dakota health care.
Last Friday, Senator Heidi Heitkamp came to tour the new Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC) and address some of the concerns which local health care professionals have related to the industry.
“Well, let me first make a couple comments before we get to your concerns,” Heitkamp said. “Health care is in a period of uncertainty.”
Heitkamp addressed the current health care plan proposed by the United States Senate, which the Republican majority is presenting as a replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She said that it is likely the Senate will not get enough votes to pass the repeal and replacement bill.
When it came to her stance, Heitkamp stressed the importance of a program within the ACA which allows states to expand Medicaid benefits, a program which North Dakota has taken advantage of.
“My simple stance is: no changes to the Medicaid program,” Heitkamp said. “Medicaid Expansion is a huge component of what we need to be doing.”

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