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Congressman Cole Tours Norman Regional Hospital; Provides New Benefits

December 4, 2003
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – With just a few days left until the President signs the historical bipartisan Medicare and Prescription Drug Bill, Congressman Tom Cole toured the Norman Regional Hospital and discussed the benefits for the local hospital under the new law.

The bipartisan Medicare prescription drug plan represents the most substantive economic package ever to Oklahoma health providers. Large, urban hospitals have been paid a higher reimbursement rate than other hospitals since 1983.  Under the skewed formula for hospital reimbursements, rural and suburban hospitals receive a lower reimbursement than urban hospitals. 

"Norman Regional Hospital has an outstanding reputation for quality care. It is unfair that they are receiving a smaller reimbursement for their services. This legislation will equalize the payments so that rural and suburban hospitals will receive the funds they need to continue offering high-quality services for reasonable costs. Stronger rural hospitals will mean more jobs and more services to the people living in those towns," Congressman Cole said.

The provisions in this legislation will provide an estimated $54,501,090 for rural and suburban hospitals in the Fourth Congressional District over a 10-year period.

"The benefits for rural and suburban hospitals is a key selling point of the Medicare and Prescription Drug package," Congressman Tom Cole said. "The differential between urban and rural/suburban hospitals is not justified by the differences in costs.  This discrepancy is unfairly hurting rural/suburban hospitals, health care providers, and all patients that live in these areas."

Congressman Tom Cole voted for this legislation that passed in the House on November 22, 220-215. President Bush is expected to sign this legislation into law on Monday, December 8.