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White House Listening to Rural Health Care Concerns

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009   

Washington D.C. – The nation's top health officials were on hand this week for a one-on-one meeting with stakeholders to talk about reforming rural health care. One of those in attendance was Jon Bailey with the Center for Rural Affairs, who was author of a recent report issued by the Center, on the prevalence of uninsurance and under-insurance in rural Iowa.

That report found that rural residents were more than twice as likely to be underinsured as those who live in cities. Bailey says top White House officials need to hear first-hand about such rural problems.

"They know those issues, they know them from looking at statistics and numbers on pages, but I think they wanted to hear from people who are from rural areas."

Bailey says what struck administration officials was the connection between rural Iowa’s economic growth and reforming health care.

"Whether we have a successful entrepreneurial economy really depends on being able to access health care for oneself and one's family, and I think that's an issue they may not have thought about. "

Bailey says rural Iowans are not well-served by a health insurance system that relies on employer-based coverage because so many people are self-employed and are forced to purchase from the more expensive individual insurance market. He says those who can't afford those private insurance company packages must go without because there are no alternatives in the current system.

The report is at www.cfra.org






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