Sep 30, 2019

Rural America's doctor crisis

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Washington Post's Eli Saslow profiles the life of Ed Garner, the only doctor serving 11,000 square miles in West Texas.

The big picture: This isn't unusual. Rural America often has high health care needs but is increasingly faced with limited health care services.

  • That's often portrayed through the struggles and closures of rural hospitals, but recruiting and keeping doctors is just as significant as the challenge of keeping hospitals from going too far into the red.

By the numbers: The federal government has designated almost 80% of rural America as "medically underserved," per the Post. While 20% of Americans live in these areas, less than 10% of U.S. doctors practice in them.

  • Rural doctors tend to be older than urban ones, and the number of rural doctors is expected to only decrease over the next decade.
  • In Texas, 159 of the state's 254 counties have no general surgeons, 35 counties have no doctors at all, and 30 counties have only one doctor.

Go deeper: The plight of America's rural health care

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A growing emergency medical services problem in rural America

A paramedic prepares an ambulance for upcoming calls in Evergreen, Colorado. Phot: Kathryn Scott/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Ambulance services are closing in record numbers across rural America after failing to make ends meet, leaving 60 million Americans at risk of having no help in a medical emergency, NBC News reports.

The big picture: Some states are giving money to emergency medical services, but experts say it's not enough to solve the problem.

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Four health care questions for a better Democratic debate

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

If tonight’s Democratic debate is anything like the earlier ones, it will feature an extended back-and-forth about whether to eliminate private health insurance, and then move on from health care. But there’s a whole lot more that’s also worth asking about.

The big picture: We basically know what the candidates will say about the question of private insurance, because they’ve said it all before. So here are four other questions that might also help illuminate the choice voters face on such a deeply personal, wildly complex topic.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

The Fed wants to lift conditions in rural America

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would use its might to shed light on the downbeat conditions plaguing rural America.

Why it matters: It's another example of the sea change among monetary policymakers, who are starting to consider issues they haven't focused on before — like the plight of people in low-income communities and climate change — as they make huge decisions about the economy.

Go deeperArrowOct 3, 2019