The Center for Rural Affairs has released another report in its series on health care reform. In this latest report, Jon Bailey, Research Director of the Center and author of the report, said for rural families, businesses and communities there is much to gain from health care reform as it passed both the House and Senate, and much to lose if final legislation is not enacted. He says if Congress fails to act, fails to adopt a final version of health care reform, rural people, families and businesses will be stuck with a bad status quo.
According to the report, health care costs will continue to spiral upwards without Congressional action and by 2019, approximately one in four rural Americans will be uninsured. Moreover, in communities with fewer than 2,500 residents nearly one in three will go without any health coverage and the annual cost of health care for the average rural household will rise from $2,785 to nearly $4,700.
With health care reform the benefits of health insurance coverage are enormous for all uninsured, but particularly for rural people who receive less preventive care and have higher rates of all chronic diseases. Fewer rural people will die needlessly simply because they lack health insurance. The report also states that a rural population that depends dramatically more on the individual insurance market and has, on average, lower incomes will benefit from the premium assistance provisions of both the House and Senate bills. Also tax credit assistance will benefit rural small businesses.