A proposal by the Obama administration to remove Medicare critical access designations for hospitals within 10 miles of each other drew criticism from Republican and Democratic U.S. senators who said that the measure was arbitrary and that cuts would reduce the quality of care and damage rural economies. A dozen Democrats in the Senate, including Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Al Franken of Minnesota and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, signed a letter to the Senate Finance Committee opposing the cuts.

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