Rural America

Hospitals' dueling financial realities

Illustration of a large golden caduceus beside a tiny stone caduceus
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As hospital prices rise and much of the sector continues to rake in cash, rural hospitals continue to shutter.

Why it matters: There's no way to address U.S. health care spending without cutting hospital costs. But blanket cuts could hurt hospitals that are already struggling to keep their doors open, leaving vulnerable patients without access to care.

31 counties accounted for a third of the U.S. economy last year

A view of the downtown Los Angeles
Los Angeles had the largest county GDP in 2018. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

32.3% of U.S. gross domestic product was concentrated in just 31 counties in 2018, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg.

Why it matters: All 31 counties included or were near major U.S. cities, signaling that the economy is concentrating in urban areas as economic output from more rural counties is dwindling.