Salazar opts for health care measure

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., will support a health care measure that he described as “probably the single largest deficit-reduction measure I will probably ever vote on.”

The measure, to be voted on finally by the House on Sunday, doesn’t include a provision Salazar had listed as a high priority — allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices with drug companies — but it does include a 10 percent increase in Medicare reimbursement to rural physicians and primary-care providers.

In crafting the measure now before Congress, “I think the president took the Grand Junction model to heart and this is the closest we’ll get to it, at least right now,” Salazar said in a telephone interview with The Daily Sentinel and GJSentinel.com.

The measure will reduce by $89 million the $159 million lost in uncompensated costs by hospitals in the 3rd Congressional District, Salazar said. The district includes most of the West Slope and much of southern Colorado.

Salazar said the measure also would improve coverage for 362,000 residents in the largely rural district, and extend coverage to 105,500 uninsured residents, including 57,000 young adults who can remain on their parents’ insurance through age 26, instead of being bumped off the policies at age 23.



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