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From the “Department of Keeping Your Eye On The Ball,” the Center for Rural Affairs has released at Top Ten list of what will be important in the coming debate about health care. There are at least ten points about health care that are particularly important to rural America, says the advocacy group from Lyons, Nebraska. 

Number One on the list is that health care coverage “must be available to everyone, without gaps in coverage.” Coverage should also have options for small businesses and, especially in rural areas, the self-employed. Many rural communities have aging populations. “Reform must provide the services and facilities to enable aging rural people to stay in their homes and communities,” CFRA says. With more than 80 percent of rural counties “medically underserved,” a third of rural Americans “live with a shortage of health professionals, and only 3% of current medical students plan to practice in rural areas,” CFRA states. “Reform must offer new approaches and incentives for rural health professionals.”

The list goes on, including provisions for mental health (over half the counties in the U.S. have no mental health professionals) and emergency services. Here is the Center’s full report. It’s a good guide to keep handy as the debate continues.

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