It's the babies, stupid: Collapse of rural health care endangers lives

No county should be without a maternity unit:

In the rural Appalachian county, where winters are harsh and narrow dirt roads make driving difficult even when the weather is clear, the maternity unit at Angel Medical Center was an important asset. But then in July 2017, Mission Health, which owns the hospital, closed the unit for financial reasons, leaving women in the community without an in-county option for childbirth.

The closure forces women to travel 20 miles south over a mountain to Harris Regional Hospital in neighboring Jackson County, or even to Asheville, an almost 70 mile trek northeast, to give birth. In some cases, women may even have to venture as far as Charlotte, more than 180 miles away, Garrett said.

It has been mentioned before, but it can be extremely frustrating trying to advocate for rural healthcare when many of your readers hail from the Triangle, Triad, or Queen City regions. And it doesn't help when faux-Libertarians seem to be more concerned about overturning Certificate of Need regulations than expanding coverage to areas that are medical deserts. And of course those same "advocates" are relentlessly attacking Medicaid Expansion, which is very likely the only lifeline for rural healthcare available. The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.

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