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Thursday, September 15, 2011

MNC story: Report: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure in Rural MN

Public News Service-MN

August 30, 2011

Report: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure in Rural MN

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Health-care reform should have an especially positive impact in the small towns and on farms across Minnesota and America, according to new research by the Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA). Report author Jon Bailey, who is the Center's director for rural research and analysis, says that's because the Affordable Care Act succeeds in putting a greater focus on prevention.

"And it's actually creating a real health care system, one that promotes and encourages health, rather than just treating the diseases and conditions after they're already in place."

Bailey says the prevention and public health provisions of the Affordable Care Act have been seriously overlooked and so far, under-funded, and yet, he says, they are among the most important measures of the law for rural people.

Bailey says that focus on prevention, from regular check-ups to personal responsibility for healthy choices, is something that's needed everywhere, but more so in rural areas.

"Mostly because rural areas tend to be sicker. They have more of the kinds of conditions - such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes - that account for about, by some estimates, 75 percent of all health care costs."

For true health care reform, Bailey says, Americans need to become healthier, and that's why another focus of the Affordable Care Act is to provide education.

"And provide the resources to communities and health care providers to promote and encourage people to be healthier, which I think is an important part for rural communities because they do not have those resources currently."

Those resources vary widely, but could include more workout facilities, biking trails and nutrition education, to name a few. Bailey notes that rural America also has a shortage of doctors, a problem the law is also addressing.

The report is online at

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