Health care reform is one of the hottest issues Congress and the Administration is dealing with right now and one of the biggest parts of the discussion is whether to include a public health option in the health care reform bill. Jon Bailey, Director of Research and Analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs has authored a paper being released Tuesday, July 21, entitled "Why Rural America Needs a Public Health Insurance Plan Option."
"At the Center for Rural Affairs we've been doing a series of papers on important issues to rural Americans in the health care reform debate," Bailey said. "Given the importance and the efforts being put into examining and developing a potential public option this was an important issue to look at from a rural perspective. A lot of issues don't get analysis from a rural perspective and health care analysis is no different."
With 60 million people living in rural areas in this country, Bailey says health care reform is going to be a big deal for rural America.
"Rural Americans are less insured, more under-insured; when rural Americans go without health insurance they are uninsured for longer periods of time," Bailey said. "Rural America, of course the economy is dominated by self-employment and small businesses who are having a very difficult time affording health insurance either for themselves or their employees. When you start adding all of those issues together and the effect that they have on people, we just ended up at the place where we figured that a public health insurance option is really needed for rural Americans."
Bailey says they aren't necessarily saying that everyone should be enrolled in a public option but it gives another choice to rural Americans to look at to see if it is affordable for themselves, their families, their employees and whether is provides adequate coverage. Also they found there is a real lack of choice on health insurance in rural areas.
"Most places in rural America are dominated by one or two insurance companies, which give a real lack of options and choices to people both on what's covered by health insurance plans and the cost of those," Bailey said. "We found that the current health insurance system does not work very well for rural America in general and for a lot of people in rural America so just providing another option, another choice for people is where we came down in this paper."
To view the complete paper, "Why Rural America Needs a Public Health Insurance Plan Option," click HERE.