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Thursday July 30 2009 MABEL MN

Page: Keyword:

11 Center For Rural Affairs

Analysis contends rural america needs public health insurance plan The !k&r for Ruralin Lyons, Neb., has released a report entitled, Wtzy Rural Arnerica

Neeris a Public Health Insurance Plorr Option. The report examines some of the arguments for a public health insurance plan, how the public health insurance plan would address the health care challenges that exist for rural areas, and, ultimately, why the choice of a public health insurance plan option is needed for rural America. In much of the mainstream media the health care debate has largely been reported primarily as an urban issue. But this Center for Rural Affairs analysis demonstrates that rural people need health care reform, and the option to obtain health insurance through a public health insurance plan, as much or more than their urban counterparts. "The current health insurance system does not work well for many rural people and rural businesscs," said Jon Bailey, director of research and analysis at the Centec for Rural Affairs and author of the report. "They pay too much for too little coverage and too little peace of mind. Health care reform that is based on the current system does little to addre.4~the unique issues faced by many rural people - why should rural people be satisfied with maintaining a system that does not work for n~illionsof them without significant reforms? A public health insurance plan option is simply that- a choice that addresses many of the health insurance issues and barriers faced by rural people, families and busi-

nesses." A full copy of the report can be viewed and downloaded at http://files.cfra.org/pdf/PublicPla n.pdf . "Rural people have much to gain from inclusion of a public health insurance plan option in health care reform legislation, possibly more than any other group in the nation," said Bailey. According to Bailey, rural people are subject to myriad risk factors that lead to higher rates of being without insurance and to insurance instability. Rural workplace characteristics such as greater dependence on small business employment, more selfemployment, more low-wage work, and rural health disparities and less choice in the health insurance market all lead to increased risk of being uninsured, underinsured or having less stable health insurance coverage. Rural America has higher rates of uninsured adults under 65, with 24 percent of such rural adults uninsured compared to 22 percent in urban areas. The gaps grow wider in rural areas that are not adjacent to urban areas and in more remote and smaller rural areas. These are all issues a public health insurance plan option would address, all to the benefit of rural individuals, families and businesses. Key points: The cost of health insurance is crushing the self-employed and microbusinesses that form the bulk of the rural economy. The availability of affordable and quality health insurance is the primary barrier to entrepreneurship - the most effective rural development strategy - reaching its potential for rural people and rural communities. Individual and business mandates with the current system as

the only health insurance option are unlikely to address unique rural challenges. Workplace characteristics more common in rural areas arc risk factors for higher rates of uninsurance, underinsurance and greater dependence on the individual insurance market, conditions all subject to issues of cost, choice and level of coverage that a public health insurance plan could address. A public health insurance plan available as an option helps address the rural risk factors leading to rural insurance instability and would act as a backup for all of the rural factors leading to greater insurance instability. A public health insurance plan could lead to significantly lower costs for businesses and households. Models show public health insurance plan premiums would be 16 to 30 percent lower than private plans, and premium savings would be up to 41 percent greater with a public health insurance plan. "It seems folly to depend solely on the current system that does not work for large numbers of rural people," added Bailey. "The cost of health insurance also affects the dreams of potential rural entrepreneurs, delaying or killing an idea by making it too risky for one to leave employer-provided insurance at a current job, the so-called 'job lock' phenomena." This is the fifth in a series of Center for Rural Affairs reports examining crucial health care issues in rural America. Previous reports can be found on the front page of the center's website (www.cfra.org). The Center for Rural Affairs, established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit corporation, was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities.

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THE KERKHOVEN

Wednesday July 22 2009 KERKHOVEN MN 1 473 (15) Newspaper (W) 6 Center For Rural Affa~rs

Why Rural America needs a public health insurance plan option

"Rural people have much to gain from inclusion of a public tiealth insurance plan option in health care reform legislation, possibly more than any other group in the nation," said Jon Bailey, Director of Research and Analysis at the Accordi% f E m = e n t system of health insurance does not serve rural areas well. Rural people are among the most vulnerable populations in the nation in regard to the affordability, accessibility and instability of health care coverage. Many rural communities lack true choice in health insurance, often having a choice of one or two plans. And with lower rates of employer-provided health insurance and a greater reliance on self-employment and small businesses, many rural households are forced into a series of unattractive choices-more expensive health insurance, health insurance that provides less coverage, public health insurance for one's children and no insurance for parents, or no insurance for the entire family. "The bottom line is that rural individuals and families deserve health insurance coverage that costs less and covers more. For health care reform to work and be relevant for rural people and rural places we must change the current situation where rural people pay more and receive less. A public health insurance plan option not only addresses the unique circumstances faced by rural people, but ensures health care coverage when it is needed to help create healthier individuals, families and communities," added Bailey.

Key Points The cost of health insurance is crushing the self-employed and micmbusinesses that form the bulk of the rural economy. The availability of affordable and

quality health insurance is the primary barrier to entrepreneurship -- the most effective rural development strategyreaching its potential for rural people and rural communities. Individual and business mandates with the current system as the only health insurance option are unlikely to address unique rural challenges. Workplace characteristics more common in rural areas are risk factors for higher rates of uninsurance, underinsurance and greater dependence on the individual insurance market, conditions all subject to issues of cost, choice and level of coverage that a public health insurance plan could address. A public health insurance plan available as an option helps address the rural risk factors leading to rural insurance instability and would act as a backup for all of the rural factors leading to greater insurance instability. A public health insurance plan could lead to significantly lower costs for businesses and households. Models show public health insurance plan premiums would be 16 to 30 percent lower than private plans, and premium savings would be up to 41 percent greater with a public health insurance plan. "It seems folly to depend solely on the current system that does not work for large numbers of rural people. They pay too much for too little coverage and too little peace of mind. Health care reform that is based on the current system does little to address the unique issues faced by many rural people -why should rural people be satisfied with maintaining a system that does not work for millions of them without significant reforms, added Bailey. "A public health insurance plan option is simply that - a choice that addresses many of the health insurance issues and barriers faced by rural people, families and businesses." The Center for Rural Affairs rcSa's

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THE KERKHOVEN

Date Locat~on Clrculat~on(DMA) Type (Frequency) Page Keyword

Wednesday July 22 2009 KERKHOVEN MN 1 473 (15) Newspaper (W) 6 Center For Rural Affa~rs

established in 1973 as an unafJiliated nonprojt corporation under IRS code 501(c)3. The Center for Rural Affairs was formed by rural Nebraskans concerned about family farms and rural communities, and we work to strengtlzeri small businrssrs, fumily farms and ranches, and rural communities.

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Q 2009 KERKHOVEN BANNER All Rlghts Reserved

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080509  

ship - the most effective rural The !k&r for Rural in Lyons, Neb., has released a report entitled, Wtzy Rural Arnerica Neeris a Public H...

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