Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and her colleagues in the Senate Democratic caucus held a hearing to examine the potential impact of Trumpcare on rural communities. The senators heard testimony from healthcare providers, patients, and advocates from across the country concerned that the Republican healthcare bill would undermine the health of people in rural communities and lead to the closure of rural health clinics. The witnesses also drew attention to the importance of Medicaid in fighting the opioid epidemic, a national health crisis that has had an outsize effect on rural communities, and expressed strong opposition to cuts to the program.
Chuck Duarte, CEO of the Community Health Alliance of Nevada and former Nevada State Medicaid Director, was among the stakeholders who testified. Duarte told lawmakers that Trumpcare would impose arbitrary caps on the amount of funding a patient covered by Medicaid could receive. This measure would make it impossible for the Community Health Alliance in the Reno area to continue providing dental, medical, and pediatric services to many of its 30,000 patients.
“I am extremely grateful to this group of witnesses for taking the time to share their concerns with us. I am especially thankful to Chuck Duarte for his advocacy on behalf of Nevada’s rural communities and the patients he serves at his health clinics,” said Cortez Masto. “Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, hundreds of thousands of Nevadans have gained access to the lifesaving care they need. Today’s hearing echoed what I have been hearing from Nevadans in rural and urban areas: hardworking families don’t want Republicans to take away their healthcare. I stand with Mr. Duarte in calling on Senate Republicans to abandon their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and instead, work with Democrats to improve it.”
“Thank you to Senator Cortez Masto and the rest of the Senate Democratic caucus for allowing me to voice my opposition to the Republican plan to gut Medicaid and impose arbitrary caps on coverage,” said Duarte. “As a former Medicaid administrator, I understand the program’s vital role in Nevada’s healthcare system. Now as a community health center CEO, I’ve seen the tremendous benefit of the ACA and the Medicaid expansion. If Trumpcare is passed, we risk losing all of the progress we’ve made in Nevada.”
A video of the hearing can be found here.