Pete Buttigieg Unveils Healthcare Plan To Help Black Women In Rural Areas

Henrietta Strickland
August 11, 2019

Friday's proposal is one part of Buttigieg's policies focused on rural America.

In a new plan aimed at improving health care access for rural America, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Friday proposed waiving visa requirements to attract immigrant doctors, increasing telehealth services by expanding high speed internet and creating a new office within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Buttigieg wants to guarantee that all rural Americans obtain health insurance by offering them the option of government-backed Medicare coverage, in a bid to force private insurance companies to lower costs.

This is a more moderate approach to healthcare coverage than some of his Democratic rivals, including progressive standard bearers and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren of MA and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who want to transfer all Americans to government-funded health coverage, known as Medicare for All.

"It is time to usher in a new era for rural America", Buttigieg said in a statement as the plan was released.

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on Friday unveiled a set of policies meant to boost health care access in rural communities, including new visa rules for immigrant doctors and expanded teleheath investments.

Mr. Buttigieg's plan would boost federal incentives to try to encourage doctors to work in rural and tribal areas. He would also double the size of the program and allow for spouses of visa holders to gain employment authorization.

The plan highlights geographic isolation, as well as a shortage in providers, which makes it hard for rural Americans, particularly Black Americans, to seek out preventive care and treatment.

Buttigieg's plan focuses on providing workforce development grants specific to maternal health professions, reforming Medicaid coverage to cover post-delivery care, and collecting data through funding the maternal mortality review and other efforts in order to identify ways to improve access to quality health care treatment for Black women and Black mothers. He will also double the funding for the FCC Rural Health Care Program to $1 billion including to "make it easier for a doctor in one state to virtually treat a patient in another by amending licensure for virtual care programs". And to address persistent inequalities in health outcomes based on geography as well as race, Buttigieg proposes to designate special "health equity zones" that receive targeted investments to reduce disparities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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