Conrad, Hoeven Make Case for Frontier Amendment

In Letters to Members of Congressional "Joint Select Committee" Senators Spell Out the Need for Fairer Medicare Reimbursement Rates for ND, Rural States

Washington – Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven today urged  members of a joint deficit reduction panel to preserve the Frontier States amendment, a law that delivers more equitable Medicare reimbursement levels to health care providers in North Dakota and similar rural states across the nation


“At a time when the nation’s budget crisis demands the most efficient use of every taxpayer dollar, some are making the argument that Medicare reimbursement for North Dakota’s health care providers – who have historically delivered health outcomes twice as good at half the cost to the patient – should be cut,” the Senators said in a joint statement. “With health care costs threatening to crush family and government budgets, North Dakota’s  providers should be emulated, not penalized.”


Senator Conrad noted that the Frontier States amendment, included as part of the final health care reform law, corrected a long-standing inequity in Medicare payment policy that was endangering the solvency of hospitals in North Dakota and other rural states. Senators Conrad and Hoeven said a flawed Medicare reimbursement formula was responsible for North Dakota hospitals receiving the very lowest levels of reimbursement, despite facing the same costs as other hospitals and providing above average care.


Senator Conrad – a co-author of the Frontier Amendment – and Senator Hoeven have voiced their strong support for the protection of the Frontier States amendment to the White House, Senate leadership and now Senate members of the Congressional Select Committee charged with cutting at least $1.2 trillion from the federal budget.


Despite their strong support for greater fiscal discipline and calls to overhaul both Congress’ spending habits and the nation’s tax code, Senators Conrad and Hoeven believe eliminating the Frontier States amendment does little to address our country's fiscal problems.  It would however, jeopardize care and access for seniors in frontier states.


Hospital Administrators in North Dakota credit the Frontier States amendment for delivering the resources they need to better address the unique challenges of serving patients in rural areas.  Since it took effect, the additional revenue has helped facilities mitigate provider shortages, upgrade outdated and obsolete medical technology, and improve access to care. 


In addition to North Dakota, other states benefitting from the Frontier Amendment are: Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and South Dakota.