According to the article “ Don’t forget rural issues when revamping health care system” from PrairieStar.com, the health care debate is a big issue for our American farmers. Rural health care is an issue that has been around for a long time and needs attention now more than ever.
Many farm families have one spouse working in town to provide health insurance for the family, while the other works on the farm. If both spouses work on the farm they have the option to purchase individual health insurance, or they may be fortunate enough to belong to a cooperative that has a health insurance plan for them to participate in.
Often farmers have high deductibles and forego preventative care to save money. They hope for the best that nothing will seriously go wrong with their health. But this is a huge risk as many health risk factors go undetected by the patient. And agriculture is an occupation where accidents happen and medical attention is often crucial. Rural hospitals are closing at high rates meaning that farmers have to travel even farther to receive medical care. Ambulance services also are facing staffing issues.
According to National Rural Health Association, one of the reasons for rural hospitals closing is Medicare reimbursement. The organization claims they are paid back much slower than urban areas in America causing for financial difficulties. Also, doctors are leaving to seek higher paying jobs in urban towns contributing to hospital closings. Health insurance rates are increasing more and more every year and Congress may be missing a very large part of the health care debate if they don’t pay attention to the issue of rural health care. It is a concern that has been around for decades and it’s time it be addressed for our American farmers.