Rural Health News

Behavioral and mental health access lags in rural areas

The demographic challenges that try rural communities in nearly all aspects of health care delivery are also prominent in the delivery of behavioral and mental health care services. Rural populations as a whole are older and have fewer financial resources. On average, this population possess higher uninsured and Medicaid rates and more health concerns.

The rural population in Nebraska also follows these trends, as the median age of rural Nebraskans is 44 years of age compared to the urban population median age of 38. In 2015, rural Nebraskans earned $9,400 less in median income than the urban cohort’s median income. Rural Nebraskans also lag in self-reported health status. The rate of uninsured rural Nebraskans is 13 percent compared to 10 percent of urban residents.

Protect your rural health care coverage

The latest attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Repeal Plan, is a prescription for harm to rural America. The legislation is anticipated to be brought before the Senate early next week, and if passed will be quickly picked up by the House.

Here is what the Graham-Cassidy bill would do:

Medicaid cuts hurt rural seniors and rural communities

Tucked within the text of both the House and Senate’s bills to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is language which seeks to fundamentally change the Medicaid program. While the enactment of this legislation is unknown, the principle remains, and rural seniors would be hurt.

For rural states and regions that already encounter the health care challenges of an older, poorer and less healthy population, Medicaid allows access to care to remain for even those who are not enrolled under the entitlement.   

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