Nebraskans Jump Into High Risk Pool

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is on a dead sprint to meet a major health care reform implementation deadline on July 1, 2010.
On that day all 50 states are supposed to have high risk pools in place for individuals whose preexisting conditions barred them from the health insurance market.  HHS is pushing to finalize contracts with 32 states that will run their own pools and establish a federal high risk pool to cover the other 18 states.  The pools provide health insurance, along with financial security and peace of mind, for individuals rejected by private insurers.
 
Ensuring access to health care coverage for those who were previously unable to purchase insurance because of severe or chronic illness was a major focus of the health care reform debate since the beginning.  Nebraska was one of the states that decided not to establish their own high risk pool. Fortunately, the federal high risk pool will provide access to health care coverage for those in the state who need it most.  
 
Although there is a long row to hoe before all of health care reform is implemented, the establishment of these high risk pools as well as insurance reforms that curtail the health insurance companies' worst abuses, and tax credits for small businesses that provide health care to employees are examples of what reform is accomplishing already - not only for the uninsured, but also for family farmers, ranchers, small business owners and working families across rural America.