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Readers’ Views

They don’t care about us

To the Editor:

I have watched every Democratic presidential candidate debate. After the debate Dec. 19, it became clear. They are pandering to the East and West coasts, leaving all the rest of us in fly-over country behind.

Diane Tow

Fairmont

It’s hard enough already

To the Editor:

It’s hard enough for patients living in rural communities to access vital health care services. A high rate of provider consolidation, rural hospital closures and a growing doctor shortage all translate to fewer options and higher prices for rural communities. Recent proposals that would seek to expand the federal government’s role in health care by establishing a government-run health care insurance program would only make matters worse.

According to a study released earlier this year by Navigant, a national health care consulting firm, even the introduction of a public option to compete with private and employer-sponsored plans could “place as many as 55 percent of rural hospitals, or 1,037 hospitals across 46 states, at high risk of closure.” That would cut off access to patients even further, forcing them to drive even longer distances, endure even longer waiting times, and pay even higher prices than they already do.

Not only that, but in many rural communities, these hospitals provide employment and economic input. Undermining these health care facilities undermines entire communities. It is reckless and irresponsible to push these kinds of short-sighted policies when they would hurt some of the most at-risk, vulnerable and hard-to-reach communities in Minnesota and across the country.

Instead of taking us down this road, leaders in Washington should concentrate on ways to improve health care access and affordability in rural communities and not try to impose new one-size-fits-all healthcare programs upon us.

Bjorn Olson

Elmore

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