WASHINGTON, DC – On July 16, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee announced the creation of the “Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force.” A bipartisan group of four co-chairs will lead the new effort: Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), and Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL). The task force will convene members and experts to discuss the challenges of delivering health care in rural and underserved areas, and explore holistic bipartisan policy options that could improve outcomes and care in these communities. The group plans to convene its first meeting on Thursday, July 25.
“As a doctor representing both rural and underserved areas in Congress, I know that rural patients are lacking access to medical providers. I am eager to work together to find bipartisan solutions that improve the access, quality, and cost of health care in our rural areas,” said Rep. Wenstrup, D.P.M.
“There is no question that our country is facing a serious crisis in ensuring that rural Americans have the same access to quality care and medical services as their urban and suburban counterparts, with over 90 rural hospitals closing their doors in the past three years, including two in my District in the last year alone. That is why, now more than ever, it is critical we develop sustainable solutions to support those living in America’s breadbasket and energy basin so that we, as a nation, can continue to maintain a safe, affordable and abundant supply of food and energy,” said Rep. Arrington.
“I am proud to co-chair this important, bipartisan task force with three other Members of the Ways and Means Committee to examine effective policies and programs to remove barriers to receiving quality health care for citizens in all areas of our country,” said Rep. Davis.
“In the wealthiest nation in the world, it shouldn’t matter where you live or how much money you make – every American should have universal access to quality, affordable health care. I am honored to be a part of the House Ways and Means Committee’s new bipartisan Rural and Underserved Health Task Force. The health access and quality issues that plague rural and underserved communities will not solve themselves over night. I look forward to working with the task force and Chairman Neal to tackle these issues and advance meaningful and transformative policies that improve medical access and create health equity in rural and underserved communities like those I represent,” said Rep. Sewell.