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NEWS WEDNESDAY WEEKLY CREIGHTON, NE Circulation = 1310
CENTER for RURAL AFFAIRS a
Values. 'Wofth.Action. I
'Job Lock Phenomena' By Elishu Greeley Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, Certterfi~rRural Aflairs
Someone once told mc that work is not fun, that's why it's called work. This person was'stuck in an unsatisfactory job that they kept only because it provided health insurance. They aspired to start their own business, but it was too risky. The lack of affordable, quality health insurance is the primary barrier to entrepreneurship reaching its potential for rural people. The cost of health insurance prevents snlall businesses and entrepreneurs from expanding their businesses and creating jobs; the cost of health insurance makes it less likely for rural small businesses to provide health insurance to their employees, affecting the health of their employees and making it more likely they will seek employment in urban areas. Health insurance costs also affect 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 socalled "job lock" phenomena. The rural economy is based on entrepreneurship, both agricultural and non-agricultural. Entrepreneurs add jobs and create wealth. Spurring innovation and job creation in rural communities through entrepreneurship is the key to revitalizing rural communities and ensuring rural America's longterm future. Properly developed and administered, a public health insurance plan could provide an affordable and quality choice to benefit the entrepreneurs of rural America. It would provide a coverage option that does not currently exist for rural small businesses to provide health care coverage for owners and employees, and for rural families that are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
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Vitality of rural areas hinges on health-care reform Health-care reform is crucia1,torural economic revitalization.And rural Iowans know it. As Linus Solberg, a farmer from Cylinder, Ia., and my good friend, said recently, "Health care is killing rural America." Unless we act today, and act boldly, his observation will become truer each passing day. Congress is embroiled in a debate over whether or not America will act boldlyi- a choice that will determine, in large part, whether or not we will revitalize Iowa's rural communities and rebuild Iowa's economy. America must choose whether or not we will reform our broken health-care system. Rural Iowans have the opportunity to ensure that Iowa's congressional delegates champion real reform that addresses the unique health-care challenges our rural communities face. In particular, the leadership roles of Sens. Tom Harkin and Charles Grassley make Iowa a pivotal battleground in the health-care debate.
JOHN CRABTREE is the media director for the Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb. Contact: johnc @cfra.org.
At the heart of that debate is this question: Whether or not Congress will create a public health-insurance plan that provides individuals, families and businesses affordable coverage by giving them the option of choosing such a plan over private insurance. Opponents of reform have said that private health-insurance companies simply c q o t compete with the efficiencies of a public health-insurance plan. However, we must remember the moral imperatives that underlie the need for reform. Our first loyalty must lie with the American people, especially those that have suffered most under America's dysfunctional health-care system. Fifteen years ago, and many times since,
the health-insurance industry promised the American people who it would fix the problems in the health-care system. It did not. It has made the same promise again this year, but every meaningful poll and survey and my own conversations with rural people have taught me that this time we're not buying what it's selling. In 1982, when I graduated from high school, my hometown's main street boasted two grocery stores, two gas stations, a meat locker, a hardware store and myriad other businesses. Like most Iowa small towns, Sheffield has struggled to keep its main street viable. So far it has, while many other communities have not. Of course, one grocery store, one gas station, the meat locker and the hardware store are gone. Sheffield-ChapinHigh is also gone, replaced by a larger consolidated district that also includes Meservey, Thornton, Rockwell and Swaledale. Sheffield has seen good days, along with the bad. The building that used to house one of the gro-
cery stores now contains a small software company, a quintessential example of the entrepreneurship that holds such great hope for towns like Sheffield across Iowa and throughout rural America. But rural Iowa's family farmers, entrepreneurs and small businesses face stern economic challenges. First and foremost is the skyrocketing cost of adequate health insurance. Rapidly rising health-insurance costs will determine whether many of rural Iowa's entrepreneurs, farmers and small-business owners succeed or fail during our nation's economic recovery. As health-insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses rise, more small-business owners will drop unaffordable coverage for themselves and their employees. Health-insurance costs will continue to burden family farmers and dampen efforts to help the next generation of family farmers get started. And rural economic-developmentefforts will grow increasingly difficult as the leap of faith that entrepreneurs
must take in leaving employment with health-care benefits to start their own business comes to look more like a leap into an economic abyss. A strong public health-insurance option would offer precisely what many rural Iowans need - affordability, stability and the ability to choose their medical provider and control the medical decisions that affect their lives. In particular, small-business owners, their employees and the self-employed would benefit from having a choice between a public health-insurance plan and private insurance. Real reform should create such a public health-insurance option while doing two other things: providing new incentives and support to help rural communities attract and retain medical professionals and ending the practice of paying rural hospitals and doctors less than their urban counterparts for the same services. That should be our vision for where health-care reform begins.
STAR-JOURNAL WEDNESDAY WEEKLY AlN-SWORTH, NE
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Ainsworth Star-Journal . -
Nebraska guide breaks -down federal farm bill details =
LYONS, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska farmers and ranchers can get some help understanding the farin bill and finding government programs that can help their businesses. The Center for Rural Affairs has published a guide to the federal farm bill to help people find programs that might help them get started or succeed at farming and
ranching. The guide offers details on 23 different programs in the farin bill that are designed to help farmers, ranchers and other r u r a l residents. The guide is available online at www.cfra.org. The center also runs a farm bill hot line that farmers can call at (402) 687-2100.
RECORD WEDNESDAY WEEKLY CHADRON, NE Circulation = 2673
Families pinched by health care costs 1 By Center for Rural Affairs ranch operators in seven ranch and livelihood clue to i A report released June Great Plains states: Iowa, medical bills." But now that Missouri, she no longer qualifies for 24 by The Access Project Minnesota, found that farm and ranch Montana, Nebraska, North those programs, she is once i operators, like many self- Dakota, and-.South Dakota._ =again uninsured.. She said, employed Americans, can- The AccessProject iAd its" "We are determined to conRrandeis tinue to livc a healthy : at not afford the cost of health partners and the -lifestyle and have faith, insurance offered to small University business owners, While University of North L)akota since it seems very unlikely family farmers and ranch- School of Medicine's for me to obtain health covers are insured at a rate Center for Rural Health erage." Jon Bailey, Director of higher than the general contracted with the USDA's Agriculti~ral Rural Research and population, still one in ten National (10%) was uninsured or Statistics Service to survey Analysis at the Center for had an uninsured family more than 2,000 non-cor- Rural Affairs in Lyons, member, sometime during porate farm and ranch noted that plans to reform : operators (those operating the health care system the previous year. The report, 'Who is as sole proprietors or part- nationally niust take into account the needs of rural Uninsured?' is based on nerships). The report finds that businesses and communidata gathered through the 2007 survey of farm and uninsured farmers and ties. "Hcalth reform that ranch operators in seven ranchers face much greater continues to rely solely on Great Plains states. The barricrs to getting care and the private insurance marreport found that uninsured suffer higher levels of ket and attempts to farm and ranch operators financial hardship than strengthen elnployer-prowere more likely to say that those with insurance. They vided insurance, no matter their principal occupation delayed needed care niorc how regulateci or reformed was farming or ranching than twice as fi-equently as ..-will be irrelevant to a large than their insured counter- those with insiirance - niore -number 'of rural people. If! parts. They also had lower than a third of the unin- you want farmers to continincomes and were more sured delayed care (3456) ue growing the food for our versus 15% of 6 e insured. families, and if you want likely to live alone. .. "Those niost reliant on The uninsured were also rural communities to -income derived from the -more likely to: thrive, theri axailability of * Draw down resources, affordable and quality, family farm or ranch are such as withdrawing health insurance must be least likely to be able to .. afford private health insur- money from savings or tak- effectively addressed." ance," said Carol Pryor, ing out loans. to pay for The findings f r o m this refioi-t r$ise que&iotis b - . l e a d author of the-report rihealth care (40% vs. 25%)i; * Spend more than ten regarding the availability and Policy Director at The , Access Project. "This percent of their income on and affordability of health -threatens both their health health care (34% vs. 29%); Insurance coverage, espe* Report that health care cially for those families and their livelihoods. Washington must act to costs contributed to finan- without access to employdevelop alternatives to a cial problems (32% vs. er-based coverage. Their lack of insurance may not private market that is 22%); * Accrue medical debt only put their health at risk, unwilling or unable to probut also their businesses. vide affordable protection (32% versus 16%). Jsa Kirk, who owns a The Access Project urges to the self employed and horse ranch in South policymakers, as they work small business owners." The survey found that Dakota with her husband to reform our nation's more than one-third of the Jack, was uninsured when health care system, to conuninsured farni and ranch she was diagnosed with sider options for expanding operators spent more than cervical cancer. It was only the availability of compre10% of their inconie on because she was able to get hensive insurance coverage health care costs. They coverage from All Women and ensuring that this covwere also four times more Count, a program run by erage is affordable for South Dakota lower income families. likely to have incomes the The full report is availunder $20,000 than those Department of Health, and from Medicaid, that she able online at: with insurance. www.cfra.org/fileslAccess The Access Project's was able to afford care. She said, ''If not for All P r o j e c t - 2 0 0 7 - H e a l t h - . report is the fifth in a series of issue briefs based on a Women Count, Jack and 1 J n s u r a n c e , k 2007 survey of farm and might have lost our home, FarrnRanchSurvey.pdf
UNIVERSAL lnformat~onServ~cesInc (402) 342-31 78
REPUBLICAN THURSDAY WEEKLY IMPERIAL, NE Circulabon = 2080
~ u r aAmerica l needs a public health insurance plan ,The current health insurance system does not work well for many rural people and businesses. 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? 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.
Whether or not to include a public health, insurance plan in health care reform legislation as an option for individuals, families and businesses is a crucial decision. With the many health care challenges facing rural people, Congress' decision will have significant consequences for rural America, and we have much to gain or lose. The potential strengths of public health insurance plans are what many rural people and businesses need-stability and cost, controls while providing health insurance access to vulnerable populations like low and moderate-income families, small business employers and employees and the selfemployed. A recent e n t e r for Rural Af-
fairs report examines some of the arguments for a public health insurance plan, how the 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. View the report at: http://files. cfra.org/pdf/publicglan. The Center for Rural Affairs was established in 1973 as an unaffiliated nonprofit 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 strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities.
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NEBRASKA FARMER MONTHLY LINCOLN, NE Circulation = 36513
www.Nebraskafarmer.com - August 2009
Young farm family gets its start wlth a state incentive program. : Tax credit goes to asset owner who rents to beginning farmer. Financial management course i is a program requirement. s
T was a bit challenging for Josh Andersen a year ago when he r e t u r ~ e dto help rhn the family farm after his father, r Carl, became ill. How would he get established? How could the operation at its current size support two families? Before leaving his engineering job in Oklahoma to return to IB Edgar, Josh researched young farmer incentive programs 5 on the Web. On the Genter for Rural Affairs site, he found a 4 link to the Nebraska Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program. Today, with the help of the tax incentives in that program, c r e ated by the Legislature 10 years
[How does tax I /,creditwork? I HE Nebraska Department of Agriculture's Web site Tprovides two examples of how
the tax credit on land leases works, using 100 acres in both cases. A cash rent agreement, ,with rent at $250 an acre, 1. equals $25,000 for the owner. At lo%, the program proj ; vides an income tax credit of f $2,500 each year for three years, or a total of $7,500. On a share arrangement, 1 with 100 acres producing 200 3 . bushels of corn per acre, the i owner's 50% share would be i 10,000 bushels. At $3.50 per d bushel, that's $35,000 for the owner. At 15% that's $5,250 . "r year for three years, or a total of $1 5,750. 'This is a true tax credit," - says Dave Goeller, University - of Nebraska-Lincoln transition -, , : specialist. "If the owner does . not pay state income tax, they F, = will receive a tax credit." !* Goeller says a strategy s o m e families are considering : is to simply make the son or -2 daughter the operator and r - . to pay the parents' rent, thus . creating a three-year income through the state tax credit .=" - program to help with tight cash flow. :
ago, Josh leases his dad's entire crop ground and several hundred more acres from a corporation, aland trust and another area landowner. He qualified for the program, which grants a refundable state income tax credit to the asset owner annually for three years, -equal to 10%.of the cash rent the owner receives o r 15% of the value of the owner's portion in a share agreement. That's on top of the rental payments. . In return, Josh and other Aeligible beginning farmers in the Nebraska Department of Agricyltureadministered program get a minimum threeyear lease of the qualified assets t o get started and improve their chances of stability. "Every bit of ground I farm, including all of Dad's, is involved in the tax credit program," he says. "Two-thirds of it is on a share agreement. With the 15% tax credit to the owner, the state is recognizing that share leases help beginning farmers by the owner sharing the risks." Josh also leases his dad's equipment, another eligible asset in the program. In all, the assets allowable under the program are farm or ranch land, cattle, grain storage, irrigation equipment and others. "Leasing the equipment helps spread out his tax liability during retirement," Josh says of his father. While Josh hasn't used it yet, the program allows the beginning farmer to apply for a tax exemption of personal property valued up to $100,000. As part of the eligibility requirementF,-Josh_ and his wife, Teryl, had to take "anancial management class, but were eligible for a reimbursement of up t o $500 of their costs. Community colleges with ag programs and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offer financial management classes, says Marian Beethe, coordinator of the program at NDA.
ALL IN THE FAMILY: Josh and Teryl Andersen rent land from Josh's parents, Carl and Karen (right). The younger couple's children are (left to right) Leif, Elsa (held by Teryl) and Ingelise. Josh and Teryl are expecting their fourth child in mid-January.
end of June this year." Without these changes, Josh says the only qualified asset owner would have been one neighbor, leaving him with only 20% of the land he now farms eligible for the tax-credit. The Legislature made two changes in 2009. It modified the $200,000 net worth threshold for beginning farmers by adjusting that amount annually based on the producer price index, and it permitted those
M S ~find:
I Opinion IC Crop Production
Program improvements It's a more attractive program today with amendments made by state senators the past two years. In 2008, "related partiesn were permitted for the first time as eligible asset owners, thus allowing Carl to-rent land and equipment to his own son. "That was a huge deal," says Beethe. "It was a big factor for the 137 beginning farmers who qualified from July 2008 to the
Natural Resources Ell Country Life
outside the state who own land in Nebraska t o be an eligible asset owner, Beethe says.
Succession planning When qualified beginning farmers lease assets from closely related family members, such as parents or grandparents, the families must develop a succession, or transition. The idea is to give beginning farmers security that the land will be there for them over the x
i ~ r m - ~ i s ~&.- ~ e . - i
NO.8 Contact US: Editor: Don McCabe email@example.com 5625 "0" St.,Suite 5 Lincoln, NE 68510 Phone: 402-489-9331 Fax: 402-489-9335 Field Editor: Ann Toner Contributing Editors: Tom J. Bechman; T. J. Burnham; Josh Flint; Jeril n Johnson;Paula Mohr; Fran O'Leary; Alan Newport; John b e , economics; Arlan Suderman,marketing & management; Rod Swoboda; Lon Tonneson Executive Editor: Frank Holdmever 70 Corporate Editorial Director: Willie Vogt, 651-454-6994, firstname.lastname@example.org 74 Sales: Terry Butzitus,phone: 402-489-9331
long haul. "It eliminates a lot of uncertainty for us," Josh says. Adds Carl, "I like it that the program rewards the asset owner and that it gives the young farmer security." For information, go to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Web site at www. agr.state.ne.us, select "Choose a Division" and then click on "Beginning Farmer." You can also call the Beginning Farmer Hot Line at 800-466-4071.
Subscription Questions:800-441-1 410 For additional sales and company information, see last page of marketplace sectton.
LYONS, Nebraska '
2009\ All Ri*
Thursday, July 30, 2009 WEEKLY 735 Circulation: 23.88 sq. inches Clip Size: $5.5 Ad Rate: Pagelsection: 1 Date: Frequency:
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Visioning presentation to be heta in Lyons How can a website enhance Web Team Lead and Project community development ef- Management Consultant, will . , present information on asforts in northeast Nebraska? The Center for Rural Asisting th& communities in believes that perhaps a new development of a web site that websitewill bringnew~ustom- wiil. offer business presence ers for area businesses, entice and the opportunity to sell new residents toour comrnuni- their products/se~icesonline. ties,andsolidify tieswiththose Examples of the benefits of interested in the future of the developingand having astrong web prtsence wili be demonLogan Vailey. The community is invited strated at the.meeting. to "Find the answers to those Thiswillbearegionalwebsite questions and more" at awhat available to Lyons, Decatur, the Center is calling a visioning Bancroft, Rosalie, Pender and presentation in Lyons, Thurston with further develNebraska, on August 11, opment to incorporate other brought to you by a partner- communities in Northeast ship between the Center for Nebraska in.thenear future. Rural Affairs and Nebraska "We will be looking for Business DevelopmentCenter schools and businesses from (NBDC). Bancroft, Rosalie, Pcnder, Jennifer Metzler, NBDC Thurston, Lyons and Decatur TrainingDirector of Marketing who would' like to participate and Salesand Beth Giesbrecht. in development of an e-com-
merce web site. This is a wonderful opportunity for area businesses and schools to consider, and we encourage them to attend," commented Stephanie Fritz, Center. 'This is an activity we are providing through the'Bufding Entrepreneurial Communities Act Grant. We will alsoconsideroffering classes to individuals wanting to be actively involved in maintaining this site andlor their community web site if there is interest expressed." The presentation will be held at 6:30p.m. on August 1lth at the Center for l t w L U a h located at 145 Main Street in Lyons. For more infomationcontact StephanieFritz at stephanief8 cfra.org, or (402) 270-1070.
Universal Information Services , lnc. http://news.universaI-info.com Profile: 111 - Center for Rural Affiirs Recipient: John Crabtrw
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Rural America needs a -
CFRA guest opinion
The current health insurance system does not work wellfor many rural peap1e and businesses. They pay too much for too little coverage and too litfie peace of mind. Health care reform that is based on the current system does little to addressthe unique issues faced by many rural people. Why should rural people be satisfied with maintaining a system that does not w d for millions of them without significant reforms? A public health insurance pIan option is simply that - a choice that addresses many of the health insuranceissues and barriers faced by rural people, families and businesses. Whether or not to include a public hedth insuranceplan in health care reform legislation
as an o w n for individuals, -income families, small busifamilies and businesses is a nessemployersandemployees crucial decision. and the self-employed. A With the many health care recentCenterforRuralAffairs report examchallenges facines someof the ing m d people, Congress' arguments for a public hedth decision will insuranceplan, have significant how the plan consequences w d d address for nual Amerthe health care ica, and we have challenges that much to gain or lose. exist for rival The potential areas, and, ulstrengths of timately, the choicewhy of public health insuranceplans a public health a what many insurance plan By Elid* W k y Smith rural people option is needMedi.urd Oumrh and businesses ed for rurat need-stabilityand cqtcontroIs America while providing health insurView the report at: http:// anceaccessto vulnerable popu- fdes.cfra.m~public-plan. lations like low and maderate- pdf.
Universal Information Services , lnc. http:llnews.universal-info.com Profile: 111 Center k r Rural Afhirs Recipient:John Crabbee
TELEGRAM COLUMBUS, Nebraska
r Copyn$a 2009 \All
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Special to McClatchy-Tribune Our current health care system is crushing farmers. And the proposals under consideration in Congress won't give us the relief we need. Farmers often depend on off hjobs to provide health insuance, if we can find them. But thistakes us away from our calling. And anyway, those jobs are vanishing, and those that remain are cutting their health care benefits. Oh, we can try to find individual coverage,but the price is exorbitant, with extremelyhigh deductibles. Farmers have few optionsfor health insurance, yet we desperately need comprehemsive coverage. Farming is one of the most dangerous occupationsin America: heavy machinery, laxge animals, long hours in the sun and exposure to hazardous pesticides can all take their toll. Many of us have pre-existing conditions and we are nearing an average age of 9years. Rural residents are twice as likely to be uninsured as urban Americans, while farmers and ranchers are four times as likely to be underinsured, notes the Center for Rutal Affairs. Mefhbers of Congressare expendingplenty of energy but have little of substanceto show for it. House Democrats exulted over their 1,018-page health care reform bill. "It is really historic. It's transformation. It's momentous:, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. The best part of the bill is an
amendment by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that would allow states to experiment with their own single-payer health care plans without being penalized by the federal government for doing so. But that's not likely to fly in the Senate. There, single payer is a nonstarter, probably even at the . m e n t a l state level. Sen. Max,Baucus, D- Mont., says single-sayer health care "is off the table!' It is especially galling that Baucus, from such a rural state, one that would benefit most from a single-payer plan, is opposed to any discussion. It's also distressing that President Obarna has distanced himself from single payer as fast as he could, even though a February CNN poll showed 72 percent favored a government controlledplan. Any issue with that much across-the-board support should be "on the table!' The insurance cornpanies, in hopes of killing single payer, say they are willing to cover those with "pre-existing conditions" - provided everyone buys their health insurance. They're licking their chops at signing up an additional46 million people, under orders of the government. Of course, they could still deny payment of claims; they're very good at that. Still, they say, "Tntst us!' Trust an industry that emplays an army of claims deniers and other administrativepersonnel whose numbers have grown 25 times faster than the number of physicians in the United States
aver the past 30 years? Despite the House action, we are no closer to health care reform today. The Senate may strip the public option from the bill. Without a public option, muchlesswithoutsinglepayer, hmers and the self-employed would be, at best, underinsured - or fined for not having private insurance. Some Americans lack ddence in the government's ability to administera public health insurance plan. But it's been doing a pretty good jobwith Medicare and Medicaid. Just ask an elde~lyperson. Or someonewith a disability. We can't keep falling for that same old line from the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry. They peddle it for a reason: It keeps them mlliug in profits - and keeps us at their mercy. There are roughly 46 million uninsured and 25 million underinsured in America, many of whom are farmers. We know when we're being swindled. And we're being swindled right now. Jim Goodmanis a fanner from Wonewoc, Wis., and a WK ~ellogg7L47TJ~ood and SocietyPolicy Fellow. The writer wrote thlsfor Progressive Media hoject; it is aftllhted with The Progressive magazine. Readers may write to the author at: Progressive Media Project, 409 East Main Street, Madison, Wis.53703; email: pmproj@progTessive.org; Web site: www.progressive. org.
http://news.universaI-info.com Universal Information Services , Inc. Profile: 111 - Center for Rural Aihirs Recipient: John Crabbee
The Thirteen Towns
Date L ~ ~ a t ~ ~ n C,rculat~on(OMA) Type ( ~ r e ~ u e n c y ) :. Page Keyword
Tuesday, August 04,2009 FOSSTON, MN 9.000 (1 19) ~ e w s ~ a (W) ~&r 5 Center For Rural Affairs
Rural America Needs A Public Health Insurance pian Ehsho G I w I .Y///i/h, ~ rlish~~.~@!frt~.o~;q, C > ~ ~ / r r / i &, r ~ n ~ l . ~ ! f i ~ i r s Thc current he:tltli iiisur- decision will Iiarc sipificant ancc systcm does not \vork consequences for rural hmerncll for mnny rural peoplc and ica, and \vc h a w rnucli ro gain busincsscs. Thcy ply too rnucli or losc. for too littlc coverage and too The potential strengths of littIe p;acc o f mind. Health puhlic licnlth insurance plans carc reform that is bascd o n arc \vh:tt rn;tn!. rural people the currcnt system does Little and b u s ~ c s s c snc-ctl-stability to address thc unique issues nnd cost controls while profaced by many ructl pcople. viding health insurancc nccrss W h y should rural people be t o vulncr;iblc populations like satisfied with maintaining a lo\\- i~ntl moder:lte-income system that does not \wrk fnmilies, small business for millions o f them \x-ithout cmploycrs and employees and significant reforms? A public the self-t-mployed. 11 rcccnt hcalth insurancc plan option is siinpl!* that - a choicc that report esamines somc of thcaddresses man!. of the health arguments for a public health insurancc issues and barriers insurnnce plnn, how thc plan faced by rural pec)pIe, families \vould addrcss the Iienlth and busincsscs care clinllcnges that csist for Whethcr o r not to inclutle rural arcas, and, ultirnatrl!; a public health insurancc plan \vhy the choice of n public in health carc reform legisla- health insurance plan option tion as an option for individu- is nredecl for rural America. ir\r the report at: http:// als, familics and businesses is a crucial dccision. \\'it11 the filcs.cfra.org/pdf/publicplnn. many hcnlth care chalIcnges pdf facing rural people, Congress'
Page 1 of 1
0 2009 13 TOWNS
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c Coppi& :W9? .dlRi@Rmsvcd
Fight for us by passing health reform this vear very Nebraskan knows someone who fights for their life while fighting insura small business and ante, or who fights to pay insurance prem,ums, or who sim,,lv fights to get insurance coverage. ~ebraaganLhavehLard from both of our U.S. senators about the critical need to fix the broken system. Recent reports docNebraska View ument the urgency to pass health care . reform and what the cost of ... keeping the status quo represents: Families USA reports more than 220 Nebraskans are losing health insurance every week because of rising premiums, and Nebraokmsdie every year do 'Overage. This is On top of the more have than 200*000 who have ance. The Center issued a report from Small Business Majority, which found that 63 percent of Nebraska's small businesses. including our farms and ranches. believe reform is important to getting the economy back on track. Additionally, 82 percent of businesses not offering health insurance say they can't afford to or are really struggling to do so. SEIU and Nebraska Appleseed report your average Nebraska family spends more than $14,000 on health insurance and that cost goes up at least $1.500 each year. AARP reports that 31.534 Nebraskans between 50-64 are uninsured. and people on Medicare are spending about 30 percent of their incomes On health If we do nothing to reform. the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates health costs for families, individuais and businesses doubling Over the and the rate of the sured going up to 40 percent of Americans. Ail of these are critical numbers, but we also have stories from our neighbors who make this issue real and who remind us why it's time for
Jim, a Nebraskan who has farmed his entire life; needs Sens. Nelson and Mike Johanns to fight for him. Jim is already spending half of his income .on health insurance for himself and his wife. Bonnie and her husband, two professionals who were laid off, kave been denied coverage by private insurance because of their pre-existing conditions. They cannot afford the state's CHIP insurance program of last resort. They are now uninsured. Rodney, a fork-lift operator from Omaha, was diagnosed with cancer. ended his health insurance a year after he was diagnosed, leading to significant out-of-pocket bills. Unfonunualy, R e y lost his battle with and the debt from his treatment remains a burden for his wife and s,,+ ter. Affordable health insurance must cover what Nebraskans need to keep them healthy, provide adequate coverage when they need it, and protect them from out-of-control costs. Several committees in Congress have been working to find the most helpful and productive policies for reform. The House reform bill contains several significant policy reforms that will bring us closer to a system that works for ail Nebraskans. It's time to get gtmd policy in place for Nebraska's farmers. ranchers, families and busi-
We urge Johanns and Nelson to work toward comprehensive that ensures all Nebraskans have the health care they need and can afford. It.s time to pass health cate
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Commentary submitted by: AARP Nebraska, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Neiwork, Nebraska Center for Rural Affairs, Nebraska Appleseed, Center for Law in the Public Interest Nebraska Alliance for Healthcare Reform, Nebraska Heallh Care for America Now and SElU Change That Works Nebraska.
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INDEPENDENT GRAND ISLAND. Nebraska
Thursday, August 6,2009 DAILY 22792 48.48 $21 A4
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Nebraskans show why health reform needed over 200,000 Nebraskans who population. currently have no insurance. Rodney,a fork-lift operator from This oped was submitted by the HThe C enOmaha, was diagnosed with cancer. following organizations and repreissued a report fkomSmall Business Rodney's employer ended his health sents their position on the health care Majority which found that 63% of insurance a year after he was refom issue: AARP Nebraska, Nebraska's small businessesdiagnosed leading to significant outAmerican Cancer Soctety Cancer including our farms and ranchesof-pocket medical bills. UnfortuAction Network Nebrasku, Center or believe healthcare reform is impornately, Rodney lost his battle with tant to getting the economy back on cancer and the debt from his treatf i ~ m l & k i r s ,Nebraska App Centerfor Law in the Public Interest, track. Additional& 82% of busiment still remains a burden for his Nebmska Alliancefor Haalthcare nesses not offering health insurance wife and sister. The American Re-, Nebmka Health Carefor say they can't afford to or are really Cancer Society Cancer Action strugglingto do so. Americu Now, Sh'IU Change That Network a l l too often hears stories Works Nebraska. SEIU an NE Appleseed report like Rodney's demonstratingthe your average ebraskan family need for health care reform. As our Senators prepare to come currently spends more than $14,000 Affordable health insurance must back home for the August recess, we on health insurance and that cost cover what Nebraskans need to keep goes up at least $1,500 each year. them healthy, provide adequate ask them to fight for us-every HAARP reports that 31.534 Nebraskan knows someone who coverage when they need it, and Nebraskans between 50-64are fights for their life while fighting protect them from out of control uninsured and people on Medicare insurance, or someone who runs a costs. are spending about 30%of their small business and fights to pay the Several committees in Congress incomes on out-of-pockethealth care have been working diligently for over increasingpremiums, or someone expenses. who simply fights to get insurance a year to find the most helpful and coverage. It's time our Senators fight If we do nothing to reform the productive policies for reform. The system, the Robert Wood Johnson for Nebraskans; it's time to pass House health care reform bill Foundation estimates, health costs healthcare reform this year. contains several significant policy for families, individuals and busiOver the past few months. reforms that will bring us closer to a nesses doubling over the next 10 ~ebraskans-haveheard fkom both health care system that works for all Nebraskans. Senatorsabout the critical need to fix years and the rate of the uninsured going up to 40% of Americans. the broken system, including It's time to put good politics to W of these are critical numSenator Nelson's bi- artisan letter work to get good policy .in place for bers-but we atso-Im-storks 5 m this month stating & is 'Wmly Nebraska's-farmers,ranchers. our neighbors who make this issue committed to enactment of compre families, and businesses throughout real and who remind us why it's time our rural and urban communities. hensive reform this year." for reform now. We want to remind our Senators We urge both Senators Johanns Jim, a fellow Nebraskan who has and Nelson to work towards comprethat we need their leadershipto pass hensive reform that ensures all healthcare reform this year. We need farmed his entire life needs Senator Nelson and Johanns to fight for him. Nebraskans have the health care them to fight for us. Jim is already spending half of his they need at a cost they can afford. Recent reports document the income on health insurance for Above a l l else, we ask the Senators to urgency to pass healthcare reform himself and his wife. and what the cost of keeping the fight for us. It's time to pass health Bonnie and her husband, two status quo represents: care reform this year. professionals who were laid off, have Families USA reports over 220 been denied coverage by private Nebraskans are losing health insurance every week because of the insurance because of their preJane Kleeb Is the Hebraska state director for existing cdnditions,nor can they rising cost of health insurance the Sewlce Employees International Union. afford the state's CHIP insurance premiums, and 100Nebraskans die DavM Holmqubt is the Nebraska govermnent program of last resort. They are now relations director for the Amerkan Cancer every year because they do not have health coverage-this is on top of the among the state's uninsured Soclety. By Jane Kkeb and David Holmquirt
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