If BlueDogs Really Cared About Rural Healthcare...

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

The Blue Dogs that have fallen in with Mitch McConnell and the Insurance lobby in opposing a Public Option have said that they worry about health coverage in rural areas. They maintain their position comes from worry about small businesses and and rural areas. However, if they really cared about the problems in rural America, their position would be quite different.

Yes, Mike Ross recently tried to defend his Corporate apolegism on the backs of rural Americans:

Ross said the Blue Dogs’ health care task force would need to see more protections for small businesses and rural health care providers before he could sign on.

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But hold on, what is wrong with healthcare in rural America? Is it a wasteful government meddling in the free market?? Is it a bunch of snooty, nosy liberals who will not mind their own business?? No, it seems the problem is the very people Mike Ross and the Blue Dogs have sold their souls to protect, the Insurance companies:

Larry Harbour is celebrated in Nebraska as a model entrepreneur. But the 33-year-old owner of LB Custom Chrome and Detail in rural Broken Bow, Neb., is an illness or injury away from losing his business.

Harbour has a son and daughter who are covered by a state health insurance plan for children. He and his wife searched for their own coverage, but found premiums would cost from $12,000 to $20,000 a year, plus a $2,000 deductible. Both are healthy and young, and both work supplemental jobs as school bus drivers, but the jobs don’t come with insurance.

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In fact, in detriment to helping rural Americans or small businesses the current system of Corporate greed is exactly what is hurting small businesses and citizens in rural America:

“It’s unaffordable for me, especially being a small business owner, because I don’t have a certain amount of employees to be able to get a better rate,” Harbour said.

“The two biggest determinants of un-insurance in this country are the owner of a small business or employee of a small business,” reported Bailey, who co-authored an April 2009 study describing the rates of uninsured and underinsured rural Americans. “And that’s more common in rural areas.”

I mean, look at the payments and the deductable for this couple in rural America:

The Wilsons describe themselves as healthy, but the best individual insurance plan they could find costs $492 a month. That’s for Dan and Lorna and one of their children. Their deductible is $5,700. They also have a tax-free health savings account, but they’ve only been able to save about $2,100 so far.

Their rates are so high because of having to buy individual insurance:

The costs are higher because of the nature of individual insurance. There isn’t a large group to spread risk. And the rural population trends older and sicker, according to studies quoted by Bailey. There is also less access to health care in rural places, he added. On top of that, farming and ranching are considered risky professions.

Of course, they ridiculous rates paid by rural Americans to recieve insurance hurts their small businesses and our economy as a whole:

“That means that money that is being used for health care can’t be reinvested in the business,” Bailey said. “So, you end up with lower retirement savings, lower savings in general [and] higher debt loads than you would otherwise because of higher health costs.”

So how can the Blue Dogs or Republicans or anyone else argue against a Pubic Option in the health care bill on the basis of small business or rural America?? The Center for Rural Affairs favors a public option:

Bailey’s group, the Center for Rural Affairs, favors some kind of government-provided insurance alternative. Harbour isn’t sure what to make of proposed changes in the health care system. He’s no politician, he said. The Wilsons worry that government involvement means excessive government control.

This rural America sums up the situation quite nicely:

An hour north and east of the Wilson farm, farmer Linus Solberg climbs down from his cultivator and climbs into a car to get out of the wind and to lay out his concern about health care reform. Solberg has hosted presidential candidates and inquiring reporters, so he’s ready with a firm point of view.

“Health insurance is killing rural America,” Solberg said. “Because people just can’t keep up and pay their bills. And that shouldn’t be in America.”

Solberg, 69, is covered by Medicare, but he worries about his 60 million neighbors in rural 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.”

This is symbolic of the problems all throughout the healthcare system. Greed, waste, and irresponsibility as well as disdain for consumers has created a huge mess. The best solution for rural Americans as well as all Americans is the introduction of a strong Public Option to protect the American consumer from the Insurance companies.

The Blue Dog Democrats care nothing about that. They will try to use any excuse to expain away that they are bought and paid for by the Insurance companies and have sold their souls to the Blue Dog Devil:

Blue Dog Democrats,Mitch McConnell

  • to be fair

    Some of the Blue Dogs do support a public option. A group of Blue Dogs (including Iowa’s Leonard Boswell) and New Democrats signed a strong letter on July 9 or 10 advocating for a public option.

    I completely agree with your overall point–if these so-called “centrist” Democrats were representing their constituents instead of corporate interests, they would be 100 percent behind strong health care reform with a public health insurance option.

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