Sullivan Supports “Doc Fix” Legislation, Applauds Secure Rural School Extension

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) today voted in support of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.  The legislation, which passed on a vote of 92-8, will permanently fix Medicare's outdated physician payment system. The bill also extends a program to help rural schools and continues funding for both Community Health Centers and the Children’s Health Insurance Program or CHIP.

The bill, known as the “Doc Fix,” will replace an outdated formula from 1997 that ties Medicare doctors' reimbursement rates to spending growth. The new formula will focus more on quality of care.

“This bill is good for Alaska seniors and will help ensure that they get the care they need,” said Sen. Sullivan.  “Because of instability and rising costs, it’s getting more difficult for our seniors in Alaska to find doctors who accept Medicare patients.  This bill will help give those providers the stability they need to treat our seniors.”

The bill also extends the Secure Rural Schools program, first implemented in 2000, which requires the U.S. Forest Service to make payments to communities that have been impacted by a decline in timber sales on federal lands.

“I’m proud to have voted to provide much-needed funding to rural communities in Southeast Alaska who have been impacted by severely declining federal timber harvests,” said Sen. Sullivan. “I’m also proud to be part of a body that after a long time of inaction, is getting to work for the American people.”

H.R. 2 will also continue funding for 160 Community Health Centers in Alaska, making up over 10 percent of Community Health Centers in the nation. Such centers serve the underserved populations throughout the state. In some areas in the state, the local Health Center is the only health-care presence available.