Even With Budget Concerns, Lawmakers Fight For Rural Hospitals

Kaiser Health News' staff writers Eric Pianin and Mary Agnes Carey report in a story produced in collaboration with Politico on rural hospitals' stake in the ongoing efforts to overhaul the nation's health system. "Five Rivers Medical Center in Pocahontas, Ark., needs help to get a highly coveted 'critical access' hospital designation - and the extra Medicare funding that comes with it. Sen. Mark Pryor, an Arkansas Democrat, intends to provide it. Pryor is among several senators - including Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D. - who want to help rural hospitals in their states get the funding boost that comes with the 'critical access' designation. The catch: The same senators are among those pushing hardest to hold the line on the cost of health care reform (10/19).

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