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Secretary’s Column: A Health Care Law for Rural America

Two years ago last week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act – the law that gives hard working, middle-class families the health security they deserve.

For too long, rural Americans have been getting the short end of the health care stick, with limited options, fewer doctors and nurses, and more expensive insurance.  But the new law is building a stronger health system in rural communities – increasing payments to rural health care providers, strengthening Medicare, and training thousands of new primary care doctors who will serve in rural areas.

As the Affordable Care Act is giving our health system a much-needed overhaul, I want to explain how to take advantage of some of the most important changes.

The law forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick – and imposing lifetime limits so they can’t bill you into bankruptcy. It has helped more than 2.5 million young adults get health care through their parents’ plan. Soon, it will prevent insurers from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition – a protection that it has already created for children.

The law helps close a troublesome treatment gap with urban communities. It gives millions of rural Americans access to no-cost preventative services – like mammograms and vaccinations for children – to help them stay healthy.

President Obama knew we couldn’t fix the economy without fixing healthcare, so the law is also making an impact on our pocketbooks. Already, three million seniors have received a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs. The small businesses which employ nearly two-thirds of rural Americans can take advantage of a 35 percent tax credit to give their employees health insurance.

The law is providing new coverage options to rural communities while fostering competition between insurers to bring down the cost of coverage.

At USDA, we have also invested in rural healthcare, providing funding to improve nearly 600 rural health facilities serving more than 11 million Americans.

No one should have to go without health care because of where they live.  The new health law is providing rural communities with better access to doctors and nurses.  It is holding insurers accountable.  And it is giving rural Americans better and more affordable health coverage choices.

You can learn more about the law and how to take advantage of these benefits by visiting www.healthcare.gov.

You can find the audio version of the Secretary’s Column here.

2 Responses to “Secretary’s Column: A Health Care Law for Rural America”

  1. Robert Mitchell says:

    Social medicine doesnt work in other countries, why should we expect it to work here? Like to wait 6 months for a procedure to check your colon? Just go to Canada. Care will be given on a financial basis. If they have the money, ok. If not, wait for the new budget. They will manage it as well as the Post Office. Like that idea? Why was student loan money put under this Health Care law? 2000 + pages of rules that will become huge quagmire of mess. We never learn….

  2. rwilymz says:

    Ironic that this is currently being argued at the USSC, where it will almost certainly be found not merely unconstitutional, but verging on dictatorial.

    Some issues with your stump speech:

    [[ ... no-cost preventative services ... ]]

    The word is “preventive”. “PreventATive” is an improper back-formation adjective.

    [[Soon, it will prevent insurers from discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition ... ]]

    That was SUPPOSED to have been done with HIPPA – the Health Insurance PORTABILITY and Privacy Act. Remember? “Portable” insurance? No more pre-existing conditions allowed?

    It can’t be done; in the same ways that HIPPA was dodged on pre-existing conditions, so will Obamacare be dodged.

    [[The law is ... fostering competition between insurers to bring down the cost of coverage]]

    This is just plain nonsense. Let me remind everyone of the rationalizations used to support Obamacare in the first place:
    1] insurance is the problem;
    2] insurance is the ONLY problem.

    So when the problem is insurance, the solution is MORE insurance? and make it mandatory? Does anyone listen to themselves?

    [[small businesses which employ nearly two-thirds of rural Americans can take advantage of a 35 percent tax credit to give their employees health insurance.]]

    That’s great, except that the tax credit will not come anywhere close to the cost of providing the health insurance – and we should all know that by now. It’s significantly cheaper for small businesses to refuse to provide health insurance and take the penalty than spend thousands of dollars a year more than the penalty, and get a pennies-on-the-dollar return in tax credit.

    Don’t you have any CPAs in the federal government?

    Cheesy political shills are cheesy political shills regardless of where they are. Nauseating.

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