KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Officials Hope Health Reform Reaches Rural America

Rural Americans are hopeful that health reform includes funding for clinics and health care services in their communities, where the cost of care is often high, CNN reports.

"What one senses is a conflict between idealism and rural reality; of course, [one rurual doctor] would like everyone covered, but there is a nagging sense that politicians who don't understand places like [Clay, W.Va.,] will pass major legislation that changes the funding model for health care - and clinics like the one here - and yet somehow doesn't work as advertised."

For instance, a man who lived far from a hospital had to take an ambulance ride and an emergency helicopter ride to a hospital in an urban setting to receive care for a heart attack, the helicopter ride cost $11,000. For Carl Walls and his wife, Elizabeth, covering them - people who have paid taxes for their whole lives - ranks pretty high on what they think government should do with health reform. "'You know, we have worked all our lives and tried, and we can't seem to get any program that works for us,' Elizabeth Walls said. Their worries might not make sense to those promising universal, or near-universal, access in Washington. But that sentiment, maybe polite skepticism is a better way to put it, is commonplace in the tiny coal towns where many of the jobs have disappeared, and whatever is said now is judged alongside the many past promises that help was on the way" (King, 7/11).

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