Index · Artikel · Healthcare reform seen critical for rural U.S

Healthcare reform seen critical for rural U.S

2009-07-22 1
   
Advertisement
résuméIOLA, Kansas Surrounded by corn fields and cattle, the people of southeast Kansas seem far from the Washington debate on reforming U.S. healthcare but many care deeply about the issue and hope that change can come. For many of the 60 million people l
Advertisement

Healthcare reform seen critical for rural U.S


IOLA, Kansas Surrounded by corn fields and cattle, the people of southeast Kansas seem far from the Washington debate on reforming U.S. healthcare but many care deeply about the issue and hope that change can come.

For many of the 60 million people living in rural America, inadequate and unaffordable healthcare is an immediate and growing problem.

"Reform is a big deal here. We're on the edge," said Brian Wolfe, an Iola family doctor. Half his patients rely on government aid for the poor and elderly and some who need care don't seek it because they can't pay.

President Barack Obama hopes to get reform passed this year before congressional Democrats become embroiled in next year's midterm elections. He is pushing both houses of Congress to at least pass initial versions before the August recess.

Rural residents are heavily represented among the 46 million Americans lacking health insurance. Many are too poor to pay for a doctor's visit and too far from cities to reach emergency rooms and free clinics.

Additionally, rural resident are disproportionately losing jobs and insurance or their seeing benefits cut as employers fire workers and cut costs in the continuing recession.

When rural residents do seek care, many find long lines for a shrinking number of primary care physicians and specialists.

"The numbers of people struggling to get the kind of care they need is growing," said Dan Hawkins, senior vice president for the National Association of Community Health Centers, which operates 5,400 non-profit rural clinics serving more than nine million rural Americans with help from federal grants.

Such struggles are cited by Democrats and the White House as arguments for the massive overhaul of the $2.5 trillion healthcare industry. But the plan, which could cost $1 trillion in its first 10 years, has run into trouble.

Lawmakers are looking at both higher taxes and savings in the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs to finance the overhaul. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says Congress has not yet found a way to pay for the plan.

PUBLIC OPTION

One of the most controversial aspects of Obama's reform efforts is a "public option" government-run insurance program that would compete with private insurers and help provide benefits for the uninsured.

A study released on Tuesday by the Center for Rural Affairs argued that rural areas need a public option. People living in rural regions tend to be older. They suffer from more chronic health problems, but have less access to private employer-based insurance because so many are self-employed or work for small businesses.

"Rural people have much to gain from inclusion of a public health insurance plan option in health care reform legislation, possibly more than any other group in the nation," said Jon Bailey, director of analysis at the Center for Rural Affairs.

But many Republicans and some conservative Democrats say including a public option is too costly.

Fiscally conservative Democrats worry that higher taxes in the bill proposed by House Democrats will harm the economy. If these 50-70 Democrats ally with Republican opponents of the bill, it could scuttle the legislation.

In any case, the bills under consideration would not change the fact that rural areas simply do not have enough doctors. Critics say reform should focus more on increasing incentives for doctors to serve rural Americans.

"It does not do someone any good to have an insurance card when there is no medical professional to administer care," said Congressman Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican.

NO DENTISTS OR HOSPITALS

Many small towns like Iola, with its population of 5,500, have no dentists or hospitals and only one or two doctors.

A government-supported community health center that operates five clinics in southeast Kansas for those who can't pay and don't have insurance has seen a dramatic jump in patients in the last two years. Some travel up to 100 miles for an appointment, said Krista Postai of the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.

The situation has worsened since December, when a nearby automotive supplier plant closed with the loss of 600 jobs.

"We're seeing people who have not seen a doctor in three, four and five years," Postai said. "We've seen people in end stages of cancer who have never been seen by a physician because they just keep putting it off."

Adding doctors should be a top priority for reform, along with a public option. "If people have an option maybe we'll see them sooner," she said.

In the former coal mining community of Frontenac, population 2,900, solo practitioner Dr. Michael Simmons argued for a different approach.

Simmons said offering financial incentives to doctors who cut costs and improve health outcomes for their patients was the most efficient way to improve the system.

"Healthcare reform needs to be developed in fashion that is beneficial for those providing services and those receiving services," Simmons said.

For 64-year-old Mary Black, who drives 30 miles to a community health clinic because she lacks insurance, the key elements of reform are more doctors, more access to affordable insurance and more government services for the poor.

"My kids and grandkids are going to be inheriting this system," said Black, who suffers from asthma. "I don't know what the answer is. I really don't. But I know we need help."

(Editing by Alan Elsner)

TOP

  • Day/
  • Week/
  • Original/
  • Recommand

Updated

  • Wenn Schafe auf die Straße gehen

    Wenn Schafe auf die Straße gehen
    Foto von Maggie Schmitt Am vergangenen Sonntag, bestanden 500 Schafe durch das Zentrum von Madrid. Schafe und mit ihnen mehrere Rinder, viele Pferde, und ein Bündel von Mulis - rund um den Dom, auf dem historischen Hauptstraße, in dem zentralen Platz
  • Gumbo: The Mysterious Geschichte

    Gumbo: The Mysterious Geschichte
    Foto von Justin Vogt Seit dem Hurrikan Katrina hat New Orleans eine bemerkenswerte Wiedergeburt, mit genug hoffnungsvolle Entwicklungen erfahren Optimismus über das Schicksal einer ganzen Stadt zu rechtfertigen, die fast vor vier Jahren verloren. Abe
  • Sebelius piles pressure on insurers

    Sebelius piles pressure on insurers
    WASHINGTON Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ratcheted up the pressure on health insurance companies on Wednesday, urging them to forgo short-term profits to make coverage more affordable and to stop fighting the Obama administration's reform effort
  • Suboxone Detox Frage schlecht Magenkrämpfe?

    Ich bin neu hier haben eine Menge Beiträge lesen. Ich war auf dem Schmerzmittel seit 2001, vic und Duragesic Patch, dann Morphium, ging dann nach norco und oxy.I wurde 60 mg oxy3x einem Tag. Ich brach in einem Unfall meinen Rücken. Ich brauchte die M
  • Ich habe gerade topamax für Rückenschmerzen verschrieben?

    kann jemand anderes, der vorgeschrieben ist lassen Sie mich dieses Medikament für diesen Zweck wissen, wie effektiv es war? mein Arzt sagte, dass zunächst kann ich einige unangenehme Nebenwirkungen auftreten, sondern zu versuchen, sie zu warten, um z
  • Blut, Schweiß und Private Equity für das Gesundheitswesen

    Blut, Schweiß und Private Equity für das Gesundheitswesen
    Während einige Dutzende von Venture - Fonds der Vorhersage wird aus dem Cash laufen jetzt jeden Tag, halten Gesundheitsfonds zu füllen und wieder auftauchen. Spätphase Investmentfirma ABS Capital Partners sagte , dass es seine geschlossen hat $ 420.0
  • Alles, was Sie wollten über Nussbutter wissen

    Alles, was Sie wollten über Nussbutter wissen
    1 Erdnussbutter Wer liebt nicht eine große Erdnussbutter und Gelee-Sandwich? Da Lunch-Boxen geöffnet werden konnte, PB & Js haben sie gefüllt. Nicht jeder ist jedoch das Glück genug, um sie zu genießen. Für viele eine Erdnuss-Allergie oder Erdnuss Em
  • Warum lässt sich mein Finger nicht begradigen?

    Warum lässt sich mein Finger nicht begradigen?
    Frage Warum lässt sich mein Finger nicht begradigen? Ein Mitarbeiter versucht, auf ein Paar Handschuhe zu setzen, die zu klein für ihn war, und als er die Handschuhe auszog, konnte er nicht mit dem Finger den ganzen Weg zu begradigen. Ein Leser teilt
  • Was ist soziale Verstärkung?

    Was ist soziale Verstärkung?
    Es gibt viele verschiedene Arten von Verstärkung, aber wenn es um Menschen geht, ist einer der häufigsten sind die natürlich vorkommenden sozialen Bestärkung, die wir alle jeden Tag um uns herum zu begegnen. Soziale Verstärkung bezieht sich auf Bestä
  • Kann eine einmalige alergic Reaktion langfristig Nierenprobleme verursachen zu sulfameth?

    mein Mann mit einer schweren Nieren pain.He sulfameth etwa einen Monat dauerte vor und hatte eine schwere allergische Reaktion. Kann es ihm nach einem Monat aus? ----schneiden---- In Antwort auf kaismama bei 2013.07.02 16.33 Allergische Reaktionen wi