White House Official Visits Central Valley to Discuss Health Care Solutions

MODESTO -- A top White House official visited Modesto on Monday. Medicare and Medicaid Medical Services Administrator Seema Verma sat down with Congressman Jeff Denham for a roundtable discussion.

Doctor shortages and health care access in the Central Valley were just a few of the topics Verma and Denham discussed with other leaders.

"The president wanted me to come to meet with Representative Denham and some of the members of the health care community to understand some of the very unique issues that are happening in Modesto," Verma said.

Denham has co-authored a bill that aims to bring more doctors to rural regions like Stanislaus County where 45 percent of the population relies on public healthcare.

"Doctors can’t afford to see them because our low reimbursement rates, so we’re 40th out of 50th in the country, we’re one of the most expensive states," Denham said.

Anthony Wright with Health Access California has some concerns.

"He’s been voting for these rollbacks of health care, these tax changes that would severely hinder and undermine our health care," Wright said.

However, there is one issue they all agree on, and that's getting more health care professionals so patients won't have to travel for hours to receive care.

"That we don’t just see medical patients in the emergency room or in the hospital, but we actually do some preventative care," Denham said.

"It’s a goal that we share, but it’s a goal that would be utterly impossible under the bills that he’s voted for that would rollback the Affordable Care Act," Wright said.

The administrator also gave us a glimpse of the new Medicare health card, which will no longer display social security numbers. She says this will help prevent fraud.