We Are Rural: Health

You expect us to take on tough issues, the ones that shape the destiny of small towns and rural communities. Health care is a perfect example.

With your help, we fought to extend Medicaid so that people who need health insurance can afford it. Our rural organizer, Virginia, joined others on the capitol steps in Lincoln, Nebraska, to relay that message.

In 2013, work on rural health care policy moved to the next stage of fighting to see the new law’s rollout served rural America. In Nebraska and Montana we advocated for expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income people. Thousands of rural residents in both states would benefit. The health care provider network would grow stronger, benefiting small towns and rural communities.

Unfortunately, both states declined to expand Medicaid, though the decision was close. Now the fight continues – a potential ballot initiative in Montana and in the 2014 legislative session in Nebraska.

The new health insurance marketplaces took center stage as well. We took our analysis on what it means for rural people and rural communities right to you. In public sessions throughout the region, our health care team answered your questions calmly and factually. More sessions are planned for 2014.

The health care needs of the rural United States are many, and the public policy to meet those needs challenging. In many ways the new law was tailor-made to meet rural needs, but unique rural circumstances continue to test it. As an organization dedicated to the needs of rural people and rural communities and to the moral imperative of health care for all, we will continue to confront those tests.

Annual Report Health 2013 Highlights:

  • For efforts to promote and encourage health insurance coverage, the Center was named a “Champion of Coverage” by the federal government because of your support.
  • People turned to us for accurate information on rural health care and the rural implications of the Affordable Care Act: 57 national media outlets, nearly 500 state and regional media references.
  • Produced 7 more reports on rural care and the Affordable Care Act in our rural health care series.
  • You helped make Nebraska one of the top states in the nation for health insurance plans sold on the health insurance marketplace versus the first three month goal.

You'll find the Center's full 2013 Annual Report here (pdf).

Feature photo: Center staff member Virginia Meyer shows her support for ending a legislative filibuster that delayed a vote on Medicaid expansion in Nebraska. Photo by Lance Evans