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Rural hospitals were at the center of various negotiations and compromises made yesterday in Congress. The big topic, of course, is health care reform. The Democratic Blue Dog Coalition has been demanding more for rural hospitals. The Post notes that Blue Dogs are “from largely rural districts” who have enough votes to stop health care legislation from passing through the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Washington Post explains:

Rural health-care providers generally receive less in Medicare reimbursements than their urban counterparts, and delinking the public plan from Medicare was considered critical for conservative Democrats. “We have saved America’s rural hospitals from closure,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.), a Blue Dog leader on the committee.

Meanwhile, Post business columnist Steve Pearlstein has a recommendation for the Dogs: “If they really want to solve the doctor shortage in their home states, for example, they could propose a small tax on all hospital services and use the money to provide free education to all medical students — in exchange for a few years of service in underserved communities.”

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