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.

Rural Health Notes

 

Nebraska's Uninsured and the Coverage Gap by Legislative District

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that about 201,000 Nebraskans are without health insurance, and about 118,000 of them are employed. This map includes American Community Service’s five-year estimate of the number of Nebraskans falling into coverage gap, as well as estimated percentages of working age population without health coverage and those who are employed without coverage. 

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Nebraska's Uninsured and the Coverage Gap by County

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that about 201,000 Nebraskans are without health insurance, and about 118,000 of them are employed. This map includes American Community Service’s five-year estimate of the number of Nebraskans falling into coverage gap, as well as estimated percentages of working age population without health coverage and those who are employed without coverage. 

File attachments: 

Tell your U.S. House Representative to cosponsor the Save Rural Hospitals Act

76 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. According to the National Rural Health Association, about one-third of U.S. rural hospitals are at risk of closure due to financial distress. Much of this financial distress in linked to lowered Medicare payments due to sequestration and bad debt from unreimbursed care, which result in about 35 percent of Critical Access Hospitals (CAH) facing negative operating margins.

Mapping the Coverage Gap

There was much discussion last spring in Nebraska Legislature about whether we should find a way to help people in our state who fall into the health coverage gap to finally afford health insurance. Unfortunately, our state leaders again failed to capitalize on a solution to this ongoing problem.

Rural Behavioral and Mental Health Still Overlooked

In 2009 I co-authored a Center for Rural Affairs’ report detailing the critical, but overlooked, need for mental and behavioral health services in rural areas.

The report tied inadequate rural mental and behavioral health care services to a lack of affordable, meaningful health insurance coverage. It concluded this “problem must be addressed for prosperous rural families, economies and communities.”

Despite adoption of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, rural America still lacks mental and behavioral health services. Rural residents have a higher percentage of all categories of mental illnesses, from a serious mental illness to psychological distress to major depression. Nearly one-in-five rural residents experience some mental illness.