Health in the Heartland

By Christina Animashaun

America’s rural regions are struggling with population declines, worsening health and hospital closures.

America’s rural regions are home to its farms, frontier and the rugged individualists who exemplify the American spirit. But all is not well in the heartland, whose residents face more significant — and worsening — health challenges. Perhaps none is more sobering than the suicide rate, which jumped after the 2008 financial crisis and shows no sign of abating. But that’s just one reason that the life expectancy of rural Americans is lower than for their urban and suburban peers. Across the board, death rates from the five leading causes of death are higher for rural Americans, a pattern that only appears to be getting worse. A contributing factor may be that health care is less and less accessible in rural areas, as the numbers of uninsured increase (in part because many rural states decided not to expand Medicaid coverage) and rural hospitals, starved of revenue, close their doors.

 

 

This is series of POLITICO’s The Arena:  Your farm is trying to kill you

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