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SPRING GROVE HERALD

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Wednesday, May 27,2009 SPRING GROVE, MN 1 ,425 (1 27) Newspaper (W) 4 Center For Rural Affalrs

Rural Americans more likely uninsured and underinsured elishas@cfm.org

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By Elisha Greeley Smith

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Recent estimates show that about 47 million Americans lack health insurance, millions more are underinsured and health care costs continue to spiral. But for rural Americans the situation is even more criticalr According to a Rnr;llreport "Causes and Consequences of the Rural Uninsured and Underinsured rural Americans are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured than urban Americans. With an economic foundation of small businesses, and

self-employment, rural communities are not well served by a health insurance system that relies on employer-based coverage. Many more rural farmlles are forced to purchase from the individual insurance market where they often wind up underinsured, with coverage that costs too much and provides too little. Those who can't afford the significantly more expensive individual insunnce packages must go without or rely on public insurance. The report found that rural residents are twice as likely to be underinsured as urban residents, and about twice 3~ likely to be uninsured because their employer is a small business. Farmers and mnchers are four times as Likely to be covered by insurance with reduced benefits and high deductibles.

It's not surprising that a quarter of fanlily farmers and ranchers carry medical debt and expenses that often contribute to their financial difficulties. We all pay for the skyrocketing costs of health insurance. It is crucial for reform . legislation to create a public health insurance option that provides small business and the self-employed the . ability to choose more affordable, quality health care coverage. View the report at wwv~v.cfra.org. The Center for Run1 Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation under IRS code 50 I (c)3. The Center for Rural Affairs was formed by mml Nebrackanc concerned about family . farms and rural communities, and wework to strengthen small businesses, ' family farms and ranches, and rural communities.

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