Senator aims to preserve Medicare pay for frontier states

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 1, 2011

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Some western states would lose tens of millions of dollars in Medicare payments if a certain health system reform law provision is repealed, said Sen. Kent Conrad (D, N.D.).

The so-called Frontier Amendment in the law increases Medicare pay for physicians and other health professionals practicing in Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The provision has provided an additional $16 million to doctors and $52 million to hospitals in North Dakota alone, Conrad wrote in a July 18 letter to Vice President Joe Biden.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R, Va.) proposed repealing the amendment during deficit reduction negotiations with the Obama administration. Conrad requested that the provision be taken out of discussions to lower the deficit.

"The Frontier Amendment helps ensure continued access to high-quality and affordable medical treatment for all North Dakotans," said Tim Blasl, vice president of the North Dakota Hospital Assn.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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