In January, Come to the Table and the North Carolina Council of Churches convened its first quarterly Rural Life Committee meeting of 2014. The topic was: Health Care: The Impact of ACA on Rural Communities.
We had an engaging conversation about rural health care, heard about impacts of ACA and resources that we should all be aware of.
In North Carolina, at least 30% of farmers, 50% of loggers, 80 to 90% of fishers and more than 90% of farmworkers do not have health insurance.
As Robin Tutor-Marcom of the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute pointed out during the meeting: “Without the health of farmers, farmworkers and farm families, there is no farm sustainability.” Thanks to Chris Collins of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Zoe Cummings of NCDHHS’s Office of Rural Health and Community Care and Robin Tutor-Marcom of the NC Agromedicine Institute for the knowledge, research and insight they brought to the table. Following our meeting, the North Carolina Public News Service did a short radio story on farmers and healthcare and included quotes from meeting attendees. You can listen here. We also learned of resources in North Carolina for anyone applying for the Affordable Care Act. Agrisafe is a preventative healthcare screening program for farmers and farmworkers, directed by the NC AgroMedicine Institute. They have developed an ACA outreach program with the ability to advise and register folks for healthcare in the field or at their homes, churches or community centers. If you would like to sponsor an educational event, or if you know of a farmer or farmworker who personally needs assistance understanding the tax credits, subsidies, penalties or guidelines of the ACA, please contact Robin at: 252-744-1045. If you are looking to enroll in the ACA on your own, check out the Kaiser Family Foundation’s subsidiary calculator to get an idea of what you may qualify for before entering the online marketplace. Click here. Lastly, please encourage your faith home or community center to sponsor a navigation event for your neighborhood. Many, many more North Carolinians still need to be registered! Find or become a navigator.
Visit the below links for more information, including enrollment instructions:
In the midst of the national scramble to determine how we all access healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, it’s crucial that we consider the specific impacts on populations that are often thought of last: farmers, farmworkers, and rural folks in general