I live in an urban area. My doctor is so close, if I touch the end of my nose, my elbow brushes against her office. To be precise, she’s a block and a half away. My dentist is 6 blocks away. Three 3 hospitals are within spitting distance of my residence. When it comes to medical access, I’m covered. The same isn’t true for many people who live in rural America.
Those without secure medical help often live in states that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion program offered under Obamacare. As a result, residents exist in medical ghettos akin to some third world countries. Without immediate assistance or a nearby hospital, people suffer unnecessarily. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, reports people are 50% more likely to die of unintentional injuries, like car accidents and drug overdoses, than people in urban centers. (“A Far Cry,” by Becca Andrews, Mother Jones, July/August 2018, pg. 71.)
A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health also reveals the plight hospitals that rejected the Medicaid expansion. They six times more likely to close than hospitals that didn’t. (Ibid. pg. 71) Under President Donald Trump, their financial peril grows. Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reduced the reimbursements that allowed hospitals to buy drugs at a discount. (Ibid pg. 71.)
Not only are the rural sick, poor and the elderly at greater medical risk than before but so are the local economies. Hospital budgets in these small communities can represent 25% of the economy. (Ibid, pg. 71.)
Do these folks in rural America still cheer for Donald Trump? You bet they do. Come November, they will go to the polls in wheelchairs, if necessary, to elect members of Congress who share the President’s dystopian vision for the old, the poor and the infirm.