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Trump signs an order aimed at boosting rural health, tele-health

Pressed about his lack of replacement for Obamacare, Trump has also pledged for days to reveal one health plan of his own country, although he refused to describe exactly what that plan would do.

“We’ll be signing a health plan in two weeks, a full and complete health plan,” Trump said on “Fox News Sunday” on July 19 – just over two weeks ago.

A federal health official said that changes in rural health are limited and should not be considered a substitute for health law. Three officials also said the government has no plans to produce an Obamacare alternative anytime soon.

Some elements of the rural health plan have been pending for more than two years, but the White House budget office declined to put forward proposals to reform hospital payments, fearing that they would be unworkable in practice. Federal health officials have revised the proposals to show that they would save money from the federal government.

Under the new plan, the federal Medicare agency will use its authority to test new pilot projects that provide financial incentives for health care providers who provide patients with better quality care. Administration officials believe the new financial model will help to keep rural hospitals open after about 130 are closed in the United States last decade. The program is optional, according to three sources.

However, officials have discussed the risks of a revision of rural hospital payments as the sector is already under significant financial pressure and the government may experience political repercussions if more hospitals close after the White House plan comes into effect. It is unclear whether any of the changes can be finalized before the elections.

In the field of telehealth, the administration will enact a proposed rule to permanently pay Medicare technology for certain health care providers, in an effort to survive the expansion of virtual care following the pandemic, two officials said. A more drastic extension of pandemic tele-health policies should probably come from Congress, which is just beginning to review the issue.

During the peak of the nationwide shutdowns, Medicare medical care visits grew from just a few thousand a week to over 1 million. Trump himself has often commented on the rapid rise of the technology during the pandemic.

The White House and HHS declined to comment. A CMS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A White House announcement is expected at 5pm, two sources said.