August 25, 2008
DUNCAN, OK - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) was in Duncan, Oklahoma today to visit Duncan Regional Hospital. As a member of the Senate Rural Health Caucus, Senator Inhofe has long fought to ensure Oklahomans receive the best possible health care.
"Here in Oklahoma where much of the population lives in rural areas, high quality hospitals such as Duncan Regional Hospital provide an invaluable service," Senator Inhofe said, "Today I appreciated the opportunity to meet with CEO Scott Street and the executive team at Duncan Regional. They took me on a tour of the hospital where I enjoyed seeing their new Cancer Center and plans for additional developments that will benefit Duncan and surrounding communities here in Southwest Oklahoma.
"Through my time in Congress, I have consistently worked to ensure both urban and rural Oklahomans have access to quality healthcare. For example, I recently worked to include provisions in Medicare legislation for ambulance payments in rural areas as well as additional payments for rural home health services and support for rural hospitals, such as Duncan Regional."
Over half of Oklahoma's population is served by rural hospitals. Senator Inhofe is proud to sponsor legislation to improve the affordability and accessibility of health care in rural regions. He is cosponsoring the Craig Thomas Rural Hospital and Provider Equity Act of 2007 (S.1605) a bipartisan bill to increase funding for Critical Access Hospitals and make Medicare payments more equitable in rural regions. Sen. Inhofe was successful in getting parts of this bill included in this year's Medicare legislation.
Sen. Inhofe is the sponsor of the Preserving Access to Hospice (PATH) Act of 2008 (S. 2727) to ensure America's terminally ill seniors have access to hospice care. It will protect many small family-and-community-owned hospices in Oklahoma from being forced to close and discharge significant numbers of terminally ill patients, possibly into more expensive care.
Sen. Inhofe is the cosponsor of the Tax Equity and Affordability Act of 2007 (S. 397) along with fellow Oklahoma Senator Coburn to amend the Internal Revenue Code to make health care more affordable and accessible. He is also the cosponsor of the Health Care Equity Act (S. 2835) which provides equal access to quality health insurance for individuals struggling to afford private health care, giving them the same tax benefits as those with employer-sponsored coverage.
In the current session of Congress, Sen. Inhofe, along with his colleagues, pushed for increased funding of 11 important rural health programs - some of which were passed in the Health Safety Net Act (S.901).