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Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

All the bad parts of the health care system — poor health, high costs, inadequate access — are worse in rural areas.

The big picture: "This rural disadvantage is unprecedented," said James Kirby, a federal health researcher.

  • Mortality rates are higher in rural areas, and many of those disparities are getting bigger.
  • Women in rural areas are more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths than urban women. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable.

Between the lines: Operating a health care practice, especially a hospital, in a rural area is a tough proposition: There aren't many patients, and a large proportion of them are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

  • More than 100 rural hospitals have closed since 2010, and those still up and running have slashed some services for patients in order to survive, according to one study.
  • It can also be hard to recruit doctors to work in rural areas.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Scoop: Stephanie Murphy announcing challenge to Marco Rubio

Rep. Stephanie Murphy. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy is planning to announce a campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in early June, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Murphy is a proven fundraiser. Jumping in now would give her an early start to build her case for the Democratic nomination and potentially force Rubio and allied GOP groups to spend heavily to retain a seat in a state that’s trending Republican.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inside the GOP's infrastructure strategy

Sen. Roger Wicker. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top Republican senators are hoping the White House will make some sort of counteroffer to their infrastructure proposal when they meet with President Biden on Thursday, lawmakers and their aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is a sign of how serious the negotiations are, they say. In advance of the meeting, some of the senators are already publicly signaling the areas in which they have flexibility.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

By the numbers: Senate seats to watch in 2022

Data: Axios Research, Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Elections; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While Republicans are giddy about their chances for regaining the House next year, GOP prospects for taking the Senate remain more uncertain, data reviewed by Axios suggests.

By the numbers: At least five Republican senators are retiring after the midterms, and four of their seats are in battleground states. That makes a simple Republican-for-Republican election exchange all the more difficult.

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