Hoeven: Health Care Reform Should Provide Americans with Access to Patient-Centered, Affordable Health Care

Senator Tours New Medical Center, Holds Health Care Roundtable

FARGO, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today joined Sanford Health officials to tour the new Sanford Medical Center in Fargo before convening a health care roundtable with local and state health care officials. Joining Senator Hoeven for the roundtable were: Paul Richard, President of Sanford Health Fargo; Shelly Peterson, President of the North Dakota Long Term Care Association; Jerry Jurena, President of the North Dakota Hospital Association; Donene Feist of Family Voices North Dakota; Courtney Koeble, Executive Director of the North Dakota Medical Association; Jeff Ubben, Deputy North Dakota Insurance Commissioner; Pat Gulbranson, CEO of Family HealthCare Center; Ryan Taylor of Center for Community Change; Pam Gulleson, Vice President of Government Relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield; Sen. Judy Lee, North Dakota State Senate Human Services Committee Chair; Chris Jones, Director of North Dakota Human Services; Nicole Watkins of Family Voices North Dakota; Nate White, Chief Operating Officer of Sanford Health; Tim Blasl, Vice President of the North Dakota Hospital Association; Melissa Hauer, ND Hospital Association; and Dr. Fadel Nammour, Vice President and Council Chair of the North Dakota Medical Association.

“Obamacare has raised costs and limited health care choices for individuals and families in North Dakota and across the nation,” said Hoeven. “We need to reform health care with the objective of providing Americans with access to patient-centered health care and health insurance at an affordable rate.”

Hoeven outlined three priorities for the Senate’s health care reform legislation:

  • Refundable Tax Credits – Hoeven said the advanceable, refundable tax credits should be robust enough for lower-income individuals to afford to purchase a health insurance plan.
  • Ensure Medicaid Reforms Work – Hoeven said any reforms made to the Medicaid program should work for states, providers and those who rely on the program. That means there should be an adequate transition period to implement the reforms. Also the senator has proposed allowing states to bank unused yearly Medicaid funding for use in future years. This would allow states to have a rainy day fund that could be used during years in which their Medicaid spending exceeds their federal funding.
  • Affordable Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions – The senator said health reform should provide a federal backstop that will assure those with pre-existing and chronic conditions that they will have access to affordable health coverage.

Today’s roundtable continues the senator’s work to provide North Dakotans with better health care options. Hoeven has met with health care providers, patients, North Dakota business owners, health insurers and individuals to gather input on health care reform.