Coal usage in China way down • States not expanding Medicare may cause trouble for hospitals • A call for rural broadband investment • Telehealth solutions for rural patients? • Squeezing oil from rocks • Huh, rural voters actually matter
Andrew Revkin, in a New York Times Op-Ed, explores a Greenpeace report on the end of China’s coal boom. China’s coal usage dropped significantly in 2012 and looks to be holding there.
The “Medicaid gap” is part of the financial woes of a southern Mississippi hospital and nursing home that laid off 17 staff and cut hours for other workers this month.
“All of the rural hospitals throughout the nation are facing challenges and in particularly in Mississippi,” said Steve Vaughan, administrator of the Pearl River County Hospital and Nursing Home in Poplarville.
Mississippi did not expand Medicaid to serve a greater portion of low-income residents. As a result, the hospital has not been able to expand its base of paying patients.
Kansas Republican Pat Roberts is sounding the call for continued investment in broadband for rural communities as part of his campaign for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.
Roberts spoke at the Agriculture Broadband Summit this week in Home City.
“The Universal Service Fund has supported the deployment of telephone and broadband access to rural areas and allowed our state’s residents, no matter where they live, to enjoy the expansion of the Internet,” he said.
Roberts faces a primary challenge from Milton Wolff, a physician aligned with the tea-party movement.
The Colorado Independent looks at healthcare cost problems and solutions for rural parts of the state. Rural residencies for medical students and telehealth are a couple of the solutions to rural healthcare costs. But the problems are complicated, reports Tessa Cheek:
A complex constellation of factors contributes to higher healthcare costs in rural areas. Gretchen Hammer, executive director of the Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved, said the population in those parts of the state is disproportionately older. That means there’s more often an increased need for more expensive care. She noted that rural areas also have a higher ratio of people employed in physically challenging or even dangerous work — from mining and fracking to farming and forest services — as well as lower-income families and people who don’t get insurance through work. In addition to those cost drivers, there’s little to no competition for rural doctors and hospitals to keep their prices low because they’re very often the only providers in town or even the county.
Even as oil becomes harder-and-harder to retrieve from the ground, oil companies are ignoring the United Nation’s recommendation to pursue clean and renewable energy options in favor of going after the hardest to extract fossil fuels, according to the Guardian. Next stop for the mining teams are places where the methods for extracting oil release up to five times the emissions of oil extracted from conventional methods.
The Yale University student newspaper takes a rare look at how rural voters may affect Connecticut’s gubernatorial race.