I applaud Tim Size for his insightful guest column, “Learn from history of rural health,” (Tribune, Jan. 26) spotlighting the very real fragility of health care in rural American communities.

Comprehensive and responsible health-care planning must include meeting the needs of access, affordability and availability of a reasonable level of care in all communities, but the voice of rural communities -- with fewer votes, less money and less access to elected officials -- too often goes unheard or worse, ignored. Rural health problems are in danger of becoming dramatically worse by legislative and regulatory choices at the state and federal levels with proposed changes in Medicare, the hiring freeze affecting Veterans’ care, and if the Affordable Care Act is repealed entirely or without adequate replacement. We risk losing community hospitals/critical access hospitals, skilled-care facilities, clinics, health-care providers and associated jobs, and most importantly, basic health care for our rural neighbors and others we love. Health care costs would again become the leading cause of family bankruptcies.

We need to support Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative and other organizations that advocate for healthy communities. The immediate need is compelling. Contact your state and federal lawmakers in support of those who work for not only your health, but for the health-care needs of others in our very inter-connected world.

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