Hard Times in the Heartland: Health Care in Rural America
According to a report from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, tens of millions of rural Americans struggle with higher rates of poverty, higher rates of underinsurance and less access to primary care than their urban counterparts.Notes from the report and accompanying press release:
- Nearly one in five of the uninsured -- 8.5 million people -- live in rural areas. This is partly attributable to the fact that much rural work is done on a part-time or seasonal basis.
- Rural residents pay on average for 40 percent of their health care costs out of their own pocket, compared with the urban share of one-third.
- In a multi-state survey, one in five insured farmers had medical debt.
- In the current recession, the rural economy is losing jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the nation.
- Obesity is more common among rural residents (27 percent) than urban residents (24 percent), as are diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.