Rural Health

We work with you to promote policy that makes health insurance affordable for small businesses, entrepreneurs and family farmers and ranchers and to ensure policy supports small town doctors, clinics and hospitals.

Rural people have less access to health networks and health care providers, greater rates of disability and chronic diseases, and higher use of all public health care programs. Because of high rates of self-employment and small business employment, rural Americans have lower rates of employer-provided benefits. We're more likely to be underinsured or uninsured for longer periods of time. The 50 million people in rural America are most in need of health care system reform. And we have much to contribute to any reform debate.

Health care is also a major barrier to rural economic development that creates genuine opportunity and reduces poverty. Micro-enterprise and small business development is the most effective path in many communities for low and moderate-income rural people to pull themselves out of poverty. But if small entrepreneurs cannot gain affordable access to health care for themselves or their employees, that path is blocked. Any hope of building genuine economic opportunity for struggling rural Americans through entrepreneurship must be accompanied by reforming the health care system in a way that benefits both small business owners and their employees.

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act will work for you, your business or your community visit this page.

Get Covered Calculator: Estimate Your Costs - calculate your estimated monthly health insurance cost.
Healthcare Exchange Calculator in Spanish - from the Kaiser Family Foundation website.

Confused about health care options? Get a Health Care 101 here

Rural Health Notes


Bottom Line: Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska

Data clearly shows economic benefits from expanding Medicaid flow to families throughout the state and to the state’s economy as a whole. Medicaid expansion is a policy and economic winner for Nebraska and for those who would benefit from the health insurance coverage offered by it.

This brief is the final in a series examining the rural impacts of a Univeristy of Nebraska Kearney cost-benefit analysis on economic and income issues connected to expanding Medicaid in Nebraska.

File attachments: 

Stronger Health Care Infrastructure & Healthier Nebraskans: Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska

Medicaid expansion in Nebraska will make health care providers fiscally stronger, especially those in rural Nebraska. Ensuring access to health care for all Nebraskans will help to alleviate the health care cost shifting that affects all of us.

A healthier and more stable work force will emerge from greater access to health care, benefiting the state's employers and businesses. Medicaid expansion in Nebraska is a policy and economic winner.

File attachments: 

Medicaid Mythbuster #2: Source and Quality of Care

A constant complaint about Medicaid is that fewer healthcare providers take patients on public insurance programs, and the resulting quality of care suffers.
The facts, however, tell a different story. According to the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey nearly all Medicaid (95%) and private coverage patients (94%) have a regular source of health care. The quality of care (rated excellent or very good) is higher for Medicaid patients (55%) than for those with private insurance (53%).

Medicaid Is Quality Health Coverage

Jon M. Bailey dispels some myths about Medicaid, private insurance, and the uninsured.

During the 2-year debate on expanding Medicaid to low-income people without health insurance here in Nebraska, a major anti-Medicaid argument was that it doesn’t provide quality coverage for health care needs, and low-income residents would be better off uninsured.

Rural Nerds: Take the Lead on Rural Health Care Needs

It's week 4 of our Letterman-style countdown of Top 10 Rural Research Reports from the Center for Rural Affairs. This #tbt Throwback Thursday post looks at the report that kicked off our health care reform advocacy.

Before writing a word, we traveled around our small towns and rural communities and listened to rural people. They told us their overall health and their health insurance, or lack of it, were big worries. Then we rolled up our sleeves and dug in. Here's what we found.