Rural Health on Life Support - The State of America's Rural Health Systems

Season #1

In this first episode of The Rural Impact, the show’s debut series titled “Rural Health on Life Support,” Michelle talks with Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association.

It’s estimated that nearly 61 million people live in designated rural areas across the United States. In at least ten states, elected officials have yet to adopt the expansion of Medicaid, which, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, leaves over 2.1 million people in a “coverage gap” — meaning they fall into the income level that would make them eligible for Medicaid but cannot access it because their state has not adopted it. How do uninsured or underinsured populations impact small rural community hospitals? How has the pandemic affected rural hospitals and health systems? What are the prevalence and projections of rural hospital closures and the impact of disappearing rural EMS services?

During this conversation, Michelle and Alan cover all of these issues and more, concluding with how and why advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels are critically important for communities that want to save their rural health safety net and address the social drivers of health that are historical contributors to poor health outcomes in rural populations.