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Congresswoman Annie Kuster discusses health care legislation at Franklin VNA & Hospice

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FRANKLIN — At the April 19 Meet Your Representative event at Franklin VNA & Hospice, Congresswoman Annie Kuster dove immediately into the specifics of each bill she was asked about, and it was clear that Kuster is versed in the healthcare needs of her constituents and the challenges they face to access care.

The focus of the event was on increasing and ensuring access to healthcare. Kuster addressed the short-term, limited duration exceptions in the existing Affordable Care Act, which were intended to help bridge those in transition between jobs or life events with coverage, but now have been allowed to extend for up to four years.

Kuster advocated that "these don't cover pre-existing conditions, those up to age 26 or all the other protections that the affordable care act was all about. Basically, it's an end run to overrun the ACA. My bill, HR 986, would put it back to just the three-month exception to cover those in transition."

She also touted the idea of re-insurance, taking the most challenging cases out of the pool and providing appropriate insurance to cover those very expensive or catastrophic cases, and this will bring down the rate for everybody else. She also spoke about the challenge of introducing generic drugs to the market to lower costs.

When the session opened up for questioning, the attendees asked about several upcoming pieces of legislation. The discussion included the topics of the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, the Rural Access to Hospice Act, and PDGM, the new payment model set to begin January 2020.

Following the question and answer session, Kuster accompanied Deborah Richardson, RN on a home care visit.