Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have
consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Hard Times in the Heartland provides insight into the current state of health care in rural areas and the critical need for health care reform.
From the report…
– High poverty rates and job loss in the current economic recession highlight the challenges of accessing health care and rising health care costs in rural areas.
– Many rural residents work part-time, seasonally, or for themselves, making them less likely to have private, employer-sponsored health care benefits.
– Rural areas continue to suffer from a lack of diverse providers for their communities’ health care needs.
– A scant provider network, lack of adequate and affordable health coverage, and difficulty accessing high-quality care can lead to worse health among rural populations.