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Initiative Aimed at Healing Rural America

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December 11, 2008

Lyons, NE – A Midwest think tank that focuses on rural issues is launching a national initiative to reform the health care system. Brian DePew with the Center for Rural Affairs says no one likes the way medical care is delivered and paid for now, and the time is right for an overhaul.

"We think that health care reform is going to be on the agenda for the new Congress. It is important that rural issues be addressed in that debate, particularly how health care reform affects small businesses and family farmers and ranchers."

He says health care is more difficult to get and more expensive in rural communities, and that's a big drawback to developing an economy that creates jobs and attracts new residents.

Smaller communities are seriously underserved by the health care system, DePew notes, and it's partly a result of the rural lifestyle.

"There's a greater percentage of uninsured and underinsured people in rural areas. It's explained by the fact that we have so many small businesses and family farmers who are self-employed. Those individuals often have a harder time accessing insurance."

The health initiative, he adds, includes an online petition drive, and the Center is asking for public comments on how medical and insurance issues are affecting them. The web address is www.cfra.org.

Jim Wishner, Public News Service - MN