How Does Health Reform Affect Rural America?

    • April 25, 2013

Dates of Project: 2009–2011

Field of Work: Health care reform

Problem Synopsis: When Congress and the Obama administration began debating health reform, it was clear that any legislation was likely to impact rural and urban communities in different ways. Patterns of health insurance coverage are different in rural and urban areas. Rural populations:

  • Have significantly lower rates of employer-based coverage and significantly higher rates of public coverage such as Medicaid
  • Are more dependent on health plans purchased individually or through small employers
  • Have higher levels of underinsurance

Synopsis of the Work: The Rural Policy Research Institutes's Rural Health Panel examined the impact of health care reform proposals, and later the Affordable Care Act, on rural people, places and providers. The panel provided federal policy-makers with unbiased, nonpartisan analysis. RWJF funded the project under its 2008 solicitation, Coverage Ideas from the Field—1.

Key Results

  • The Rural Health Panel analyzed federal health reform proposals, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010, and related government papers and documents and produced nine reports for federal policy-makers and stakeholders.

    • The reports analyzed the impacts of the various coverage proposals and of the ACA on rural people, places, and providers.
    • The project informed the ideas in the ACA through discussions of its provisions and ways to implement the law.