Covid-19 cases have been reported in more than two-thirds of rural counties, said a report by Senate Democrats, who called for nationwide rapid-response testing for the coronavirus and for expansion of high-speed internet to maintain commerce and healthcare in rural areas. (No paywall)
More than 100 rural hospitals closed last year, evidence of the financial strain that smaller hospitals face day to day. "Often underfunded, understaffed and under-supplied, they’re now facing the looming impacts of Covid-19," said NBC News. (No paywall)
Nationwide, women are having fewer children and waiting longer to have them than a decade ago. But one pattern is unchanged: rural women, on average, are younger when they give birth and have more children than women living in metropolitan areas, says the CDC. Indeed, the gap between urban and rural fertility rates has widened even as overall fertility rates — the expected number of births per 1,000 women — have declined.
New research suggests that food stamps, the major U.S. anti-hunger program, do more than help poor people buy food — they “may promote better health and lower healthcare costs,” said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank.
The Interior Department's Office of Inspector General is undertaking a preliminary investigation into phone calls made by Secretary Ryan Zinke to Alaska’s Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, warning them that that they could lose their standing with the Trump administration in light of Murkowski’s vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Third-term Rep Rodney Davis, a Republican member of the House Agriculture Committee and an early critic of the 2010 school lunch reforms, has a Democratic challenger for 2018, says Roll Call. A lawyer and former House staff worker, Erik Jones, has entered the race against Davis in the Republican-leaning district in downstate Illinois.
Almost half of farmers (45 percent) said they worried they would have to sell off land or other farm assets in order to pay for healthcare-related costs, according to a survey of 1,062 farmers across the country by the University of Vermont.