It's time to transform rural health care in America
While Democrats and Republicans can’t seem to agree on much these days, there is one issue bringing politicians together and making headlines: problems in accessing quality health care in rural America. Presidential candidates are discussing their proposals in Iowa, the secretary of Health and Human Services is highlighting it as a top priority, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress are coming together on bipartisan legislation, including Iowa’s own Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
This is all good news and long overdue. Rural residents often travel long distances to get to a hospital or health clinic, and many small hospitals are closing at alarming rates. Since 2010, more than 100 rural hospitals have closed throughout the United States, and an additional 647 are at risk of folding, including 17 in Iowa. Rural areas are also experiencing shortages in physicians and specialists.
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