Monday, May 4, 2009

Health Care in Rural America

I received this HHS update newsletter today. Reading this report reminded me that as stressful and overwhelming as it has been learning about the healthcare options over the last year, we are fortunate that we are in an urban area with access to information, great support and a range of options. Keith and I are actively working to transfer our experiential information into accessible formats which will be available later this year. We are uniquely positioned to bring solutions to market and we are taking full advantage of those opportunities so that others can continue to live productive lives despite healthcare issues.

I hope you have the time to read the report, and I recommend subscribing to the HHS newsletter to learn more about what's happening at the federal level.



From: U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services <>
Subject: Health Care in Rural America
Date: Monday, May 4, 2009, 8:26 AM

Dear Friend,

Today, the weak economy is hurting Americans across the country. More Americans are losing their jobs, those with employment are seeing their hours cut back, and many are losing their health care or paying more out of pocket for the care they need.  Perhaps nowhere is the economic downturn felt more than in rural America.

Our new report, Hard Times in the Heartland: Health Care in Rural America, highlights the challenges facing Americans in small communities across the country.

Hard Times in the Heartland shows how millions of Americans in rural communities are struggling as health care costs and premiums skyrocket. The report notes:
  • Nearly one in five of the uninsured – 8.5 million people – live in rural areas.
  • Rural residents pay on average for 40% of their health care costs out of their own pocket, compared with the urban share of one-third.
  • In a multi-state survey, one in five insured farmers had medical debt.
You can read the full report by clicking here or by visiting

Later today, Nancy-Ann DeParle, the Director of the White House Office of Health Reform, will be meeting with rural Americans in the fourth in a series of White House Health Care Stakeholder Discussions.  At the meeting, she will listen to the concerns of Americans living in rural areas and discuss the challenges they face in acquiring, keeping, and paying for quality health care.  You can watch the discussion live at 10:00 am ET by visiting  

Hard Times in the Heartland shows us why we must pass comprehensive health reform this year. You can join the effort to make health reform a reality by clicking here and signing the Statement of Support.  By signing the statement and encouraging your friends to do the same, you are adding your voice to the thousands of Americans across the country who know we cannot wait to pass comprehensive health care reform.


Jenny Backus 

Department of Health and Human Services

PS.  While you are reading the new rural health care report on the site, check out our new Health Reform quiz.  Do you know whether this country spends more on health care or food?  Click here and test your health care knowledge today.  We will be updating the quiz every day.