Sen. John Hoeven
Republican, North Dakota

A former governor and a hockey fanatic, John Henry Hoeven III, 57, is just rounding out his first term in the Senate. The former director of North Dakota’s only state-owned bank, Hoeven was the nation’s highest-polling governor (in a state that actually expanded its economy while everywhere else sank into the mire) and won more than three-quarters of the vote in his Senate race.
Hoeven sits on several key committees, including the Senate Appropriations Committee, but he has won his spurs with providers by co-sponsoring legislation that would make it easier for long term and post-acute care centers to take in the nation’s veterans.
“Really, it will affect all veterans because it gives them access to a long term care facility in their communities where they can’t go now,” he says. “There’s a very limited number that will take [Veterans Affairs] reimbursement. Once we pass this amendment, I don’t know why they wouldn’t all take VA reimbursement.”
The effort hasn’t gone unnoticed, North Dakota Long Term Care Association President Shelly Peterson says.
“Sen. Hoeven has an outstanding record in supporting veterans to ensure they get the care and services they deserve,” she says. “He has been instrumental in asking [Department of Veterans Affairs] Secretary Gibson to ease the regulatory burdens so long term care providers can contract with the VA to serve veterans.”
That provider agreement bill should come up in the lame duck session this year. In the meantime, Hoeven says his focus is to make sure that Medicare and Medicaid are “sustainable.”
“We’ve got to make sure they’re sustainable not just now, but for the future,” he says. “You can’t change it for people who are say, 50-55 or older—they rely on it, it’s a contract. But for younger people, you’ve got to make some changes.”