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.

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Rural Health Notes

 

Saving Families from the Financial Ledge: Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska

This brief is part of a series to examine findings of a report on Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska, the implication on LB 472, and the significance to rural Nebraska. This brief examines basic economic and income issues for all Nebraskans connected to expanding Medicaid.

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Nebraska Medicaid Redesign Act (LB 472), April 2015

The Medicaid Redesign Act, or LB 472, would provide health insurance coverage through the state’s Medicaid program to those in the coverage gap. People crash into the gap when they make too much income to qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage but not enough to qualify for premium assistance tax credits through the health insurance marketplace, and they lack access to employer-provided insurance.

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Montana Passes Compromise Medicaid Expansion Bill

In late April, lots more eyes than normal were on the Montana legislature. Legislators were debating the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act, which expands Medicaid to everyone below 138% of the federal poverty line. 

A coalition of legislators from both political parties passed the bill despite some procedural tricks designed to block legislators from bringing the bill to a vote. It passed both houses, and was signed by Governor Bullock. 

Saving Families from the Financial Ledge: Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska

For modest-income families in Nebraska expanding Medicaid is a no-brainer. Not only does it provide access to needed health insurance and health care, it provides a host of positive economic benefits.
 
According to a recent report from Dr. Allan Jenkins and Dr. Ron Konecny of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, expanding Medicaid in Nebraska would result in an increase of $1,100 in discretionary income per enrollee in an expanded Medicaid program, or a total of $88 million statewide.
 

For Pete's Sake

The Legislature recently voted to delay LB 472, the Medicaid Redesign Act, until the 2016 session. While the bill is still alive, this means another year without access to health insurance for up to 77,000 Nebraskans, another year of health consequences that inaction will demand of them, and another year our rural hospitals are in financial jeopardy.
 
What’s more discouraging is the absolute lack of a reasonable alternative plan to provide access to health insurance for these Nebraskans.