Regarding the April 12 front-page article “Rural America’s dying hospitals”:
Having grown up in a rural Virginia town of fewer than 13,000 residents, I understand the experiences shared by the residents in Haywood County, Tenn. As the article mentioned, lack of health-care access in rural areas is a prevalent issue that grows each year. Furthermore, rural areas continue to have higher rates of diabetes and obesity than the nation overall.
Sadly, despite these related findings, it seems that policymakers are uninterested in the health-care needs of rural areas. The Affordable Care Act did not account for the fact that although more Americans would be insured, many living in rural areas would still not have a medical facility at which to use their newly acquired insurance. Many rural areas do not have hospitals or urgent-care facilities, and many do not have the tax base to expand emergency rescue squads and ambulances.
Expanding access to health-care facilities in rural areas is crucial to improving the health and wellness of residents living in these areas. What will it take for policymakers to notice?
Holly Steele, Amelia, Va.