There is little question that health care remains a critical issue in rural communities. While the Affordable Care Act addressed some issues — notably pre-existing conditions and an expanded Medicaid — it has been a failure in other areas. Rural communities continue to suffer from a lack of competition both in health care providers and insurance providers. The result has been ever-increasing premiums coupled with decreasing access to quality health care.
No legislation will be without flaws and unintended consequences when it is passed. From the simplest program to the most complex, there will always be a need to refine and improve programs to ensure they meet their intended goals. The current lack of leadership and the intense and pointless partisan bickering has robbed all of us the opportunity to see creative, pragmatic, and effective refinement to the ACA. Congress must dig into the root causes of the health care crisis and find a way forward. There also needs to be a recognition that what works in a high-population area with multiple health care choices likely will not work in rural communities. One size does not fit all, and any refinements must address those differences.