Rural Georgians experience health disparities on multiple dimensions: they are less likely to have job-based health insurance, may have to travel long distances to seek medical care, and experience higher rates of chronic health conditions than their suburban and urban counterparts.
Rural hospitals are often the cornerstones of rural communities, serving as both an economic engine and an access point for health care services, yet several rural hospitals have closed in recent years and more are at risk of closure.
To ensure that Georgians living in rural parts of the state have the access to care that they need, Georgians for a Healthy Future supports policy initiatives (such as closing the coverage gap) that can strengthen our rural health system and increase access to care.
Four of Georgia’s rural hospitals have closed in the last several years. Fifteen more are financially fragile according to the 2015 final report from Georgia’s own Rural Hospital Stabilization Committee. Increasing health coverage would provide Georgia’s hospitals with an increase source of revenue and a lower burden of uncompensated care. Closing Georgia’s coverage gap could keep hospital doors open in rural communities.