The Plight of Health Care in Rural America: How Hospital Mergers and Closures Harm Women

July 10, 2019

Structural problems in the health care and hospital industries are specifically hurting women in rural America, both as patients and as workers. In a new Roosevelt issue brief, Andrea Flynn, Rakeen Mabud, and Emma Chessen explore some of the industry-wide shifts that have occurred in rural areas over the last several decades. They then describe the effects that these shifts have had on health and labor market outcomes for women in rural communities.

This brief is premised on the idea that women’s health and economic security are inextricably linked. Flynn, Mabud, and Chessen argue that we must not only consider how our current health care system impacts women’s health in terms of access, quality, and outcomes, but we must also examine how it has reshaped labor markets in ways that directly jeopardize women’s economic opportunities—and relatedly, their health. Employers, policymakers, and the public at large must view and value women not only as patients or workers, but as both.