Rural America is being devastated by a hospital closure crisis. In the last decade alone, 120 rural hospitals have permanently shuttered their doors. Of which 19 closed last year, making 2019 the single worst year of the crisis to date.
Now more than ever, we need medical facilities to stay open and accessible to every American, no matter where they live. As it stands, 453 rural hospitals are deemed at risk by the Chartis Center for Rural Health. States like Missouri, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, and Mississippi top the charts with more than 40% of their rural hospitals at risk of closure while Oklahoma and Alabama follow close behind in the range of 31%-40%.
Besides having the highest rates of rural hospitals at risk in the nation, the aforementioned states have another thing in common — they have yet to expand Medicaid.
Medicaid expansion brings money back to local communities to help keep rural hospitals open, address racial health care disparities, and deliver healthcare for low-income families. Failing to expand Medicaid in the midst of a pandemic abandons millions of people, and we can’t afford to look away and pretend this problem doesn’t exist any longer.
Members of The Fairness Project are done waiting on politicians to act. We’re working to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma and Missouri by ballot initiative in 2020. To support these campaigns and others, you can join our movement and donate. We must work together to keep rural hospitals open, protect vulnerable communities, and deliver healthcare to Americans — no matter where they live.