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Report Tracks Small-Town Troubles with Health Insurance

March 5, 2010

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Health care costs for New Yorkers living in small towns are forecasted to rise, according to a new report, which predicts rural residents will face deteriorating health as a result. The research, compiled by the Center for Rural Affairs, shows individual costs will rise by about $2,000 for those living in towns with populations of 2,500 or less. The study is based on trends that are expected to continue if Congress does not take action on health care reform.

Report author Jon Bailey, the Center's research and analysis program director, says the research found many New Yorkers will pay a high price in terms of money and health if the system stays as it is now.

"Without reform, about a third of people in those communities will be without health insurance. That has significant consequences for their ability to get diagnosis and their ability to get that treatment."

Reform proposals currently being debated have strong opponents who say more needs to be done to control health care costs, but Bailey says there are cost controls on the table that would benefit New York families.

"It means that, in the event of significant illness or injury, families would not be subject to potential bankruptcy; wouldn't be subject to losing their business, their farm, or their ranch."

Bailey adds that the insurance rural New Yorkers would be able to buy under reform would be at a better price and offer more coverage than what they can buy on the private market now.

The full report, Why Health Care Reform Can't Wait: The Benefits of Health Reform for Rural America, is available at www.cfra.org/newsrelease/2010/03/02/one-three-small-town-residents-without-health-coverage-2019.



Deb Courson/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY