The Affordable Care Act in Rural America

Life in the big city definitely has its strengths; convenience, assortment of services and service providers, I would not trade it for the world.  Philadelphia is a big medical town.  The nation’s first hospital is only blocks from my residence and this town fosters a long legacy of medical achievements.  It’s a great place to come and get care for what ails you!

The question to consider, do those in rural america have the same options in health providers as we do in the urban life?  The short, long of the answer is a resounding no. Until only recently, a large percentage of of rural Americans had no insurance.  The poverty level of many in these specific areas are below the poverty levels established by the government to discern how subisities will play in election of healthcare coverage.  Still with subsidies now available to to individuals and families to purchase coverage, many in parts of the country still cannot afford the monthly premiums nor the the generally high deductibles.

Another issue that complicates care in rural America is the lack of care providers.  Even with the infusion of healthcare coverage, every year rural hospitals are closing, physicians are taking down their shingles or deciding not to put a shingle up at all.  With all of these issues taken into consideration, patients are not getting the care they need in areas with a elevated level of health issues.  How do we reverse this trend for the better?

Much as we try to let the free market provide the change, we cannot let this market trend continue.  We need to look current legislation and policy and introduce incentives that will help the market to move into these underserved areas.  Even with healthcare coverage, if we do not have the patient care services in place to support these newly covered individuals, they will not be able to utilize the fundamental right to care.  Societal health can be our greatest strength or weakness.  We have the legislation in place, coverages for all but now we need to focus on driving more access to patient care to those rural parts of America.  ~ RCM

A great resource on Health in Rural America:  National Rural Health Association