Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Study: Rural America can’t wait for health care reform

By Lynda Waddington | 02.12.10 | 2:16 pm

If the current health care status quo is allowed to go unchecked, there will be “significant consequences” for rural residents, according to a new study by the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs.

Creative Commons photo by denn via Flickr

Creative Commons photo by denn via Flickr

Jon Bailey, director of the rural research and analysis program at the Center and author of the study, believes that existing health care policy, or lack of it, places rural people at a disadvantage that will worsen if steps are not taken by Congress. In looking at reform packages passed by both the U.S. House and Senate in terms of expansion of coverage, insurance reform, affordability and potential rebates, Bailey concluded that the benefits far outweigh the risks of inaction.

“None of these benefits will happen unless Congress adopts a final version of health care reform,” Bailey said. “If Congress fails to act, rural people, families and businesses will be stuck with a bad status quo. More uninsured and higher costs are facing many rural people — rural communities are at risk of a sicker population being served by a fragile delivery system if nothing is done. All of the unique rural challenges we have highlighted in this series of reports will only get worse with inaction.”

If current trends continue, by 2019:

  • 25 percent of rural residents would be uninsured — and there would likely be even higher percentages in the country’s most remote areas.
  • the cost of uncompensated care, often referred to as a “hidden tax” on the insured, would increase by 72 to 128 percent, and conservatively cost the average rural insured household up to $1,206 annually in premium costs solely for the health care costs for the uninsured.
  • premiums for businesses will increase, making such businesses — especially small employers typically found in rural areas — less likely to offer health benefits to employees.
  • individual and family spending, both on premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, will increase by 46 to 48 percent — a concerning figure for rural residents who already typically pay higher deductibles and often purchase their plans through individual insurance markets.

“Costs, under-insurance and lack of insurance are issues that hit rural people and families particularly hard and are issues which both the Senate and House bills begin to address,” Bailey said.

Under health care reform legislation residents of rural areas would begin erosion of the current uninsured gap between rural and urban areas, and elimination of barriers that have prevented many rural people from obtaining coverage, according to the study. In addition, families, businesses and individuals would see decreasing premium and out-of-pocket expenses related to health care.

“A typical rural family stands to be about $16,000 less at risk per year for all health care costs by 2016; families less exposed to the financial risk of health care costs as a result of health reform legislation have not only better coverage at less cost, but are at greater peace of mind, are more likely to be healthy, and will have the ability to divert those savings to other uses,” Bailey explained.

Perhaps the most significant of the benefits will come to small businesses, which Bailey describes as “the dominant economic driver of economies in many rural places.” These businesses will be able to use tax credit assistance provided in health care reform to reduce their insurance burden, and most will remain exempt from mandates present in both bills due to their size, according to the report.

Follow Lynda Waddington on Twitter


  • Wellescent Health

    Rural residents already face challenges in health care simply due to problems physically accessing care in many situations so these additional very high costs and cost risks place a disproportionate share of the problems with the health care system in their laps. This is just one more reason why the current system is incredibly broken.

  • bigearlxxx

    Maybe if the federal government would stop taxing small businesses to death (the useless suspension of the capital gains tax cut for small businesses is only helpful if the business owner SELLS the business) then perhaps the owners could afford health insurance premiums.

    Perhaps if Medicare and the VA stopped making it so hard to get paid (by the burden of paperwork and the delays in payment) then maybe health care providers could do so more efficiently.

    And if the federal government would leave the most advanced health care system in the history of man alone, maybe students would start choosing medical school again. At the rate that it is going, the problem will soon be FINDING a doctor in rural areas, NOT paying for the visit.

  • kathylarason

    Did the study include the added transportation & lodging costs incurred by insured rural residents who must travel long distances to take advantage of medical procedures covered by their insurance? If we use local medical facilities our copays increase; to take advantage of lower copays – and specialist care – we make a 300 mile round trip, stay overnight, miss work, etc. Of course, for emergency care we have no choice. Living far from urban areas means lower salaries and higher medical costs,
    Passing the current, flawed, bill is the least that should be done. It's time to consider a single payer system like other industrial countries.

  • KNichols

    Wellmark has just announced that Iowa's premiums are going up 18%. Our insurance bill will be more than our house note.

  • KNichols

    Wellmark has just announced that Iowa's premiums are going up 18%. Our insurance bill will be more than our house note.

  • InceptingReality

    It's true, they need to do something with the health system in rural regions. I am tired of having to drive every time for an hour to go to the dentists in Bostonjust because there is nothing closer that is worth paying money for…

  • James G. Hardy

    I’ve operated Hardy Family Dentistry, a rural practice in central North Carolina, for nearly 30 years. During that time, I’ve improved the smiles for thousands of patients across a five-county area who once feared the dentist. I returned to my rural roots following dental school to establish a practice that could serve the tremendous need for dental education, prevention and effective treatment in small communities. Today, oral health remains one of the most common unmet health care needs. Access to health services is still unbalanced.

    HealthyPeople 2010, is a federal initiative designed to tackle the most significant health threats and establish national goals to prevent and reduce them. Seventeen of these objectives relate directly to oral health. Yet, dental care is not part of health care reform?

    Dental visits are much more significant than cleanings, fillings and root canals. A good dentist can identify health issues from a simple dental exam. Neglecting your teeth and gums can negatively affect, even trigger, other serious health issues. Oral health care simply should not be overlooked.

  • Prateek Panchal

    Everyone requires health reform, and rural are no different…..Cheers!!!
    Artificial Inseminationwww

Switch to our mobile site