The Biden Administration is taking actions to improve the health of rural communities and help rural healthcare providers stay open. These actions:
- Build on the Affordable Care Act and Inflation Reduction Act to increase access to affordable health coverage and care for those living in rural communities
- Keep more rural hospitals open in the long run to provide critical services in their communities
- Bolster the rural health workforce, including for primary care and behavioral health providers
- Support access to needed care such as behavioral health and through telehealth services.
The Biden Administration is lowering healthcare costs for rural Americans and supporting access to high quality care in rural America. Over sixty million people live in rural America. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural Americans are more likely to live in poverty, be older, be uninsured, have disabilities, and have fewer healthcare providers available within their area. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped to reduce the rates of uninsured rural individuals nationally, with the rate of uninsured rural individuals falling from 19% in 2012 to 13% in 2019; the rate of uninsured individuals living in rural areas in non-Medicaid expansion states, however, has fallen at a slower rate than those living in Medicaid expansion states, from 38% to 32% over the same timeframe. Over 150 rural hospitals have either closed their doors entirely or stopped providing inpatient hospital services since 2010, and being in a Medicaid expansion state decreased the likelihood of a rural hospital closing by more than half. Rural communities often have fewer local healthcare providers available, with over 50% of rural counties having no access to hospital-based maternity care and 70% lacking even a single psychiatrist, often requiring patients to travel long distances to access care.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is helping to ensure people in rural America have access to high quality healthcare.
HHS has the full press release.