Rural hospitals at risk for closing down

With the future of healthcare regulation uncertain, there is one interesting trend to note. According to a recent report by NPR, since 2010 at least 79 rural hospitals have closed, and there are approximately 700 more that are at risk of closing as well. The hospitals and medical practices in rural areas are crucial to providing care to low-income, aging communities.

So what’s this have to do with politics?

The GOP’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act, introduced by President Barack Obama in 2010, now calls for deep cuts in Medicaid, calling for approximately $834 billion in cuts over the next 10 years. The proposed bill would affect the healthcare industry as a whole and significantly impact access to healthcare for patients in rural areas.

If these rural medical facilities continue to close, individuals may be faced with two options: commute to a larger facility that is further away or not receive any treatment or help at all.

Local economies could also be impacted, creating unemployment and possibly forcing medical professionals to relocate.

Although the future is unknown, whatever policy is reached from legislation could impact this aspect of healthcare greatly. For further information on the effect of rural hospitals closing, this Healthline article offers some informative insights on outcomes of this decreasing trend.

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