Sweet the Bitter Drought

The odds of a rural American being underinsured are 70 percent higher than for urban residents. Rural Americans are also less likely to have choices in private insurance coverage. And many rural communities are in dire need of medical services and technology that public health care investment has brought to big cities.
Kendra and Steve Koblentz, of Rolla, Missouri,  wanted to farm but they say they cannot afford that life anymore.  "We want to have children and things like health insurance are just too costly to maintain on a small farmer's income.  We decided to get local jobs but there are only a few companies that are big enough to provide health insurance around here," explains Steve Koblentz.
The Koblentz's story appears in a recently released Center for Rural Affairs' report entitled "Sweet the Bitter Drought," which details crucial issues facing rural Americans in the health care reform debate (http://files.cfra.org/pdf/Sweet-the-Bitter-Drought.pdf).  A debate which has too often focused on reform as an urban issue and has mistakenly portrayed rural communities as overwhelmingly opposed to health care reform.

Families like the Koblentzes and millions of other rural Americans need access to a health care system with meaningful limits on out-of-pocket costs and on the percent of income people are required to spend on health care.  Any health care legislation must provide options - including public solutions - to small business and the self-employed that provide comprehensive, affordable and continuous coverage if Congress hopes to describe their efforts as reform.

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