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‘It’s worse than murder’: how rural America became a hospital desert

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  • ‘It’s worse than murder’: how rural America became a hospital desert

    These are the rural hospitals near me: one is about 55 miles from me, one is 14 miles from me, one is an hour from me, and one is about 30 miles from me, and one 17 miles from me. At least two of those are expected to close: the one 17 miles from me and the one an hour from me. So there will be one hospital 14 miles from me, then 30 miles, then drive an hour to a hospital.

    ‘It’s worse than murder’: how rural America became a hospital desert

    Since 2010, 53 rural hospitals have closed – many in counties with poverty rates higher than average – leaving residents in need stranded

    by Michael Graff in Belhaven, North Carolina

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/...-vidant-health
    It makes sense to sell this old place now, but he can’t bring himself to leave her ashes.
    Barry Gibbs lives alone in a single-story home among the loblollies of Hyde County in eastern North Carolina. The army veteran collects a small disability check after he tore tendons in his shoulder during a fall at his maintenance job at the local school. He winces every time he stands up. He’s 64 years old and the closest hospital is more than an hour away, a distance he came to understand too damn well on the day she needed help.
    Their wedding portrait still hangs on the living room wall. It’s one of those 1980s shots with the laser beam backgrounds, her hair big and his mustache combed, his hand on her shoulder. The interior of the house is almost as she left it four years ago: white oak floors, paintings of black bears, family Christmas photos on end tables.
    Outside along the driveway, a line of cypress trees shades a headstone that marks where Barry cut a ditch and spread Portia’s ashes, right where she asked to be.
    Everybody called her Po. She was picking up sticks from the yard on 7 July 2014, five days shy of her 49th birthday, when she felt a sharp pain in her chest.
    Six days earlier, their community hospital had closed. Pungo district hospital was 47 miles west of their house, in Belhaven, and had served the county since 1949, back when crab-picking plants and lumber mills kept these small waterfront communities working.

  • #2
    Your government really does not give a feck . They ve got good healthcare .

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    • #3
      Originally posted by bfc1001 View Post
      Your government really does not give a feck . They ve got good healthcare .
      NOBODY gives a feck. Not the Republicans, not the Dems, it's all about the almighty dollar. It's been this way my entire lifetime. It doesn't matter who says what, or who promises what.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cowboy's daughter View Post

        NOBODY gives a feck. Not the Republicans, not the Dems, it's all about the almighty dollar. It's been this way my entire lifetime. It doesn't matter who says what, or who promises what.
        All bought and paid for via lobby money . I remember a few years ago , the Bernie Sanders bill to import half price drugs from Canada , it failed . The excuse given was that Canadian drugs may not be at the standard of US drugs , like your politicians are doing you a favour , and the politicians expect you to believe that narrative . The US spends something like 20% of GDP on healthcare , plenty enough to go around .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cowboy's daughter View Post

          NOBODY gives a feck. Not the Republicans, not the Dems, it's all about the almighty dollar. It's been this way my entire lifetime. It doesn't matter who says what, or who promises what.
          Yep. And that is why and how, The Donald, who was also fed up and with no political experience whatsoever, became our President. Simple, basic problems can't even be solved much less more complicated problems like healthcare. Love him or hate him, many people don't see Trump as a Democrat or Republican, but someone who sees a problem and wants to fix it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by riderboy View Post

            Yep. And that is why and how, The Donald, who was also fed up and with no political experience whatsoever, became our President. Simple, basic problems can't even be solved much less more complicated problems like healthcare. Love him or hate him, many people don't see Trump as a Democrat or Republican, but someone who sees a problem and wants to fix it.
            This is true. If "normal channels" don't accomplish anything, people go elsewhere. I'll never vote for another Dem as long as I live. Politicians need to grow up, quit whining like babies, and get to work for the American people, not their own agendas.

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            • #7
              Same situation as everywhere it seems.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ivan le Fou View Post
                Same situation as everywhere it seems.
                Too many politicians getting into politics as a career choice Ivan . Straight from university to politics , foregoing a few years in the real world where they actually might get an idea of what's wrong and what needs to be done .

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                • #9
                  I would go even further to say that the careerist politicians don’t want problems to get solved.. A classic example is the Republicans and the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. HUGE campaign issue, but when it came time to actually doing it they folded like cheap lawn chairs. That idiot John McCain singlehandedly saved it even though he made it’s repeal the centerpiece of his re-election campaign. No wonder people are fed up.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bfc1001 View Post

                    Too many politicians getting into politics as a career choice Ivan . Straight from university to politics , foregoing a few years in the real world where they actually might get an idea of what's wrong and what needs to be done .
                    That's one aspect of the problem. Politics getting the job as a career choice and/or being sent there by the administration, while having close to little, if not zero, knowledge of the field.

                    There is also the ambitions of some politicians, who realize things are not doing that great, to "try something new" and implement reforms. Let's reform the way doctors work and impose them quotas, let's also impose a quota on the number of doctors, and while we are at it let's concentrate all the services in a centralized structure. In other words, let's empty the rural areas and focus everything in the cities in order to have big influential centers of activities. (Something that is not secluded to the health system unfortunately, the academic system is another one of these fields).
                    Some fields do not interest future doctors, because it is too much and does not pay that well. Therefore doctors retiring are not replaced. That's why we end up with cities with no dentists, and if there are dentists they won't take any new patient because they are overbooked.


                    Another one could be that the "health system" should have been reformed a long time ago in order to adapt to several factors: growing population, longer life expectation, certain pathologies being more developed than others, etc...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ivan le Fou View Post

                      That's one aspect of the problem. Politics getting the job as a career choice and/or being sent there by the administration, while having close to little, if not zero, knowledge of the field.

                      There is also the ambitions of some politicians, who realize things are not doing that great, to "try something new" and implement reforms. Let's reform the way doctors work and impose them quotas, let's also impose a quota on the number of doctors, and while we are at it let's concentrate all the services in a centralized structure. In other words, let's empty the rural areas and focus everything in the cities in order to have big influential centers of activities. (Something that is not secluded to the health system unfortunately, the academic system is another one of these fields).
                      Some fields do not interest future doctors, because it is too much and does not pay that well. Therefore doctors retiring are not replaced. That's why we end up with cities with no dentists, and if there are dentists they won't take any new patient because they are overbooked.


                      Another one could be that the "health system" should have been reformed a long time ago in order to adapt to several factors: growing population, longer life expectation, certain pathologies being more developed than others, etc...
                      Your last statement is bang on the nose . We have a new tax in the UK called adult social care , payable via council tax . It's effectively a payment to pay for the care of the elderly within communities . In principle I have no problems paying it . What I do have a problem with is the beneficiaries of that tax never paid it themselves . For me that's about where we are now , an older generation who constantly lowered taxes on themselves , with the money diverted into property /private pensions /investment s etc now asking younger generations to pay more tax .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bfc1001 View Post

                        Your last statement is bang on the nose . We have a new tax in the UK called adult social care , payable via council tax . It's effectively a payment to pay for the care of the elderly within communities . In principle I have no problems paying it . What I do have a problem with is the beneficiaries of that tax never paid it themselves . For me that's about where we are now , an older generation who constantly lowered taxes on themselves , with the money diverted into property /private pensions /investment s etc now asking younger generations to pay more tax .
                        The thing is, these social cares, be them British or French, were created after the war to answer a specific set of needs for a very particular societal configuration (which was: post war UK/France/etc...).

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                        • #13
                          Someones making the money. We have health boards for districts that try to cut costs. Because health isn't trimmed by normal competition it shouldn't be treated like ordinary business.

                          Curing long term care problems like Alzheimer and shortening the hospital dependent stage that frankly is appalling to go through should be top priority.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ivan le Fou View Post

                            The thing is, these social cares, be them British or French, were created after the war to answer a specific set of needs for a very particular societal configuration (which was: post war UK/France/etc...).
                            The war generation knew what was needed , good healthcare , housing , good jobs , infrastructure spend and all regardless of cost to themselves . They learnt the hard way . The fact that every generation since has tried to undo what they built post war , for effectively personal gain could be seen as almost criminal .

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by primer View Post
                              Someones making the money. We have health boards for districts that try to cut costs. Because health isn't trimmed by normal competition it shouldn't be treated like ordinary business.

                              Curing long term care problems like Alzheimer and shortening the hospital dependent stage that frankly is appalling to go through should be top priority.
                              https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/health-44263620

                              Like this primer ? Anything for a profit for these types of companies.

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