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Health Care Plan: What Does It Mean in Kentucky?

March 29, 2010

FRANKFORT, Ky. - The health care reform bill signed into law last week by President Obama will have a direct impact on people in Kentucky, according to Kentucky Voices for Health co-chair Sheila Schuster. Opponents have argued that the bill could bankrupt the country and burden states with implementation of the plan, but Schuster disagrees and says she sees the new law as something she has advocated for in the Commonwealth.

"Many of the things that we worked so hard to achieve just in our state, and saw dismantled essentially, now have become federal law."

With more people expected to gain access to health insurance under federal reform, the next hurdle may be finding doctors and other health professionals to take care of them in rural Kentucky.

The reform package addresses that concern, and includes $11 billion for expanding community health centers. Schuster says those dollars can be put to good use in Kentucky's smaller communities.

"Let's look at those well-trained, qualified providers, like nurse practitioners, who can provide that level of primary care and are quite willing to be out in the rural areas doing so."

A benefit of expanding rural health centers, Schuster adds, is that as they are expanded, they create jobs, something Kentucky desperately needs more of.

Bill Goodman, Public News Service - KY