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The good thing about rural America is that people make their own way. It’s a place where small business thrives. Then again, the bad part about rural America is that more people work for small businesses, which, in this country, means that fewer people have health insurance. National Public Radio’s Howard Berkes reports, “Half of all jobs in rural places are tied to small businesses, a rate 13 percent higher than in cities and suburbs. And people who work for small businesses are twice as likely to be uninsured, according to Jon Bailey of the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons, Neb….Also common in rural areas are farmers and ranchers, who disproportionately depend on individual insurance plans.”
“Health insurance is killing rural America,” farmer Linus Solberg (above) told Berkes. “Because people just can’t keep up and pay their bills. And that shouldn’t be in America. “We can put people on the moon,” he said. “We can go up and fix this Hubble satellite that we have up there. And we can’t have health care for all these people. It’s ridiculous.”
As the nation begins a long debate about the future of health care, little has been written (or spoken) about the special needs of rural communities. Berkes sheds some light on why the health care discussion needs to have a special place for rural Americans.