Gardner rural health care amendment passes

An amendment providing more funding for health care programs in rural parts of Colorado was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives this week.

The amendment, put forth by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), was offered to H.R. 4800, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, or the agriculture appropriations act. The House has yet to vote on the Act itself, according to the Library of Congress.

Gardner’s amendment reduces funding for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration by $3.4 million and increases funding for telemedicine and distance learning services in rural areas by the same amount.

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration is a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that facilitates the marketing of livestock, meat, cereals and related agricultural products.

Health care is harder to access in rural parts of the state, where training for physicians and equipment are difficult to come by. In mountain towns, health care is also much more expensive than in other parts of the state.

“In eastern and western Colorado, people often find themselves hundreds of miles and hours away from specialized medical services, trauma centers, and oncology centers,” Gardner said in a statement. “We are blessed with extraordinary primary care physicians, but they often need help with the necessary resources to treat specialized cases.”

Further action on the agriculture appropriations act will take place next week.

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