Disease is factor in higher death rate in rural America

While the U.S. mortality rate is lower than in the 1960s, the urban rate has declined more rapidly than the rural rate, especially in the past generation. Three USDA analysts said a notable factor was a higher death rate from disease among working-age people in rural America.

Doctors and health systems find novel ways to address hunger and its causes

Poverty, hunger and poor health are interlinked problems, ones that some doctors and medical systems are trying to address by screening patients for food insecurity, connecting them with food and other resources, and advocating broadly against inequality.(No paywall)

More coronavirus tests, broadband needed in rural America, say Senate Democrats

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)

Covid-19 pandemic puts new strain on rural hospitals

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)

Rural mothers are younger, have highest fertility rates

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.

Food stamps may reduce healthcare costs

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.

Interior Dept. investigating Zinke’s healthcare calls

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.

Former congressional staffer to run against House Ag panelist Rodney Davis

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.

Health insurance a major worry for nearly half of all farmers

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.