Rural Healthcare

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Infrastructure

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) allocated significant funds to support providers of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) services in rural areas.

In Ohio, 2,279 qualified providers received $478,920,024 between November 2021 and June 2022.

Why is this important?

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a big reduction in routine hospital and doctor visits, elective procedures, and surgeries that sustained many hospitals and other facilities. Hospitals also incurred tremendous additional costs related to treating patients with COVID-19. The CARES Act during the prior administration, the ARP during the Biden administration, and other government actions and programs provided support that helped keep hospitals and other providers solvent.

Ohio needs substantial investment in public health

Ohio ranks 47 on health value out of 50 states and D.C. for three primary reasons:

  • Childhood trauma: More than 4 in 10 Ohio children (42%) have experienced trauma and adversity, which lead to poorer health
  • Equity: Many Ohioans experience poorer outcomes and live shorter lives because of policies, systems and beliefs that discriminate against and unfairly limit access to resources
  • Disinvestment in public health programs: Ohio Republicans’ investment in public health infrastructure is limited: Ohio spends $14 per capita on public health care as a state, compared to a $39 per capita average for the rest of the country

Ohio invests far less in public health than most other states, resulting in an undersized state and local public health workforce that was strained even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early August 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced investments of nearly $60 million to grow the health workforce and increase access to quality health care in rural communities, including nearly $46 million in funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Sadly, however, Ohio's Republican leaders did not take advantage of the opportunity to invest in rural communities. 
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