Top 10 rural issues for health care reform

In the national discussion on health care reform, it’s important not to ignore or overlook the needs of the rural United States, contends the Center for Rural Affairs.

The think tank has put together a list of the top 10 issues that deserve consideration. The paper’s author, Jon M. Bailey, suggests using it as a checklist against which bills and policy proposals can be evaluated.

Here are Bailey’s top 10:

- Health insurance access and affordability, especially for small businesses and the self-employed.

- The strength of publicly funded health programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP, on which many rural residents rely.

- The rural health care delivery system.

- The rural health care work force.

- The needs of rural seniors.

- Access to health care services and coverage for rural people who have chronic conditions and/or disabilities.

- Preventive care and wellness resources.

- Access to mental health services.

- Health information technology.

- Emergency medical services.

If you’d like to weigh this list against the White House’s current proposals for health care reform, you can read more extensively about the Obama administration’s priorities at HealthReform.gov. And there’s more information at the Center for Rural Affairs Web site about its own agenda for health care reform.