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

 

Addressing Obesity in Nebraska’s Youth: Water Consumption in Schools

Due to the time young people spend there, schools are a natural location for proactive, cost-effective interventions to reduce obesity. Policy options to do so include more access to no-cost drinking water, education, promotion of water as a substitute for sugary beverages, and inclusion of water fountains and/or water bottle filling stations in new school buildings.

File attachments: 

More Than A Smile: An Examination of Rural Dental Health Care in Nebraska

Dental health is essential to overall health. 

Affecting not only physical but mental and emotional well-being, oral health is a critical and complex issue that spans beyond straight teeth and a white smile. While many oral conditions are preventable and treatable if diagnosed early, millions of Americans lack access to preventative services and treatments. These barriers to dental care access are multifaceted, and are often exacerbated for rural residents.

File attachments: 

Nebraska Unicameral Update - Jan. 28

Today is day 13 of the Nebraska Legislature’s “short,” 60 day session. The 10 day bill introduction window ended on Jan 23. The Legislature is tentatively scheduled to adjourn on April 23, 2020.

Each of the 482 new bills introduced during the second year of the biennium will be heard before one of 14 standing committees between now and Feb 27. There are also 481 carryover bills from 2019 that may be voted out of committee and/or brought to the floor for debate.

Addressing obesity through school water access

We all know water is essential for life, but the sufficient consumption of water also has long-term health benefits. Increased water consumption has been found to reduce levels of dental decay, positively impact cognition, improve overall eating and physical activity habits, and reduce the risks for obesity.

In Nebraska, where the rate of obesity for high school students and adults both fall in the top quarter of all states, an increase in the consumption of water could help not only waistlines, but the state’s bottom line when it comes to health care costs.

Let your voice be heard by submitting a comment on Medicaid expansion

Judy Sandeen wasn’t planning on testifying when she walked into the Kearney Public Library last fall for the second of four public hearings on the implementation of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska.

But, as she signed in, the Hastings, Nebraska, resident, thought about her friend, Todd Ruhter.

“I thought ‘well, why not?’ because this was a huge thing that happened with Todd,” Judy said.

Todd had long fought for the Medicaid expansion, often traveling from Grand Island to Lincoln to speak with Nebraska lawmakers, despite being very ill.