Obama Seeks Health Reform Support From Small BusinessesRoll Call: "The White House is aggressively courting the small-business community, believing that some on GOP-friendly Main Street can be enlisted in the fight for health care reform and that assistance to mom-and-pop shops is vital to chipping away at the unemployment rate. ... White House officials were on the phone to the [U.S. Chamber of Commerce] and the GOP-leaning National Federation of Independent Business on Friday asking them to provide a group of small-business owners for Obama to talk with at the White House on Thursday."
Obama will use the time to talk health care reform and the economy, sources said. The hope is that small businesses will see that reform will bring better rates and improve their options for offering insurance to their employees, which might get them to support reforms. The NFIB remains wary, however, on the reform legislation in Congress (Koffler, 10/28).
In the meantime, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Tuesday in a conference call that the health care crisis is felt more than anywhere else in rural parts of America, where many lack access and health insurance, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Sebelius told reporters that legislation would help rural families by not allowing denials of coverage from insurance companies based on pre-existing conditions and would provide a pipeline of health workers to rural areas through scholarships and grants in the National Health Service Corps. "Among the health care challenges in rural areas is that there are only 36 primary-care physicians for every 10,000 people," according to a new HHS report, "More Choices, Better Coverage: Health Insurance Reform and Rural America." "Urban areas have about twice that number" (Smart, 10/28). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.