Democrat Buttigieg unveils healthcare plan for rural Americans, tribes

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

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

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg unveiled a healthcare plan on Friday to provide coverage to all rural Americans and Native American tribes, where mortality and illness rates are higher than in USA cities. "That work begins with securing the health of all rural residents".

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.

Buttigieg's plan also addresses hospital closures and other provider shortages, guaranteeing access to affordable health coverage through Medicare "for all who want it", with the release noting that rural Black Americans are more likely to not seek medical care due to the cost and not being insured. He plans to release more proposals next week.

In order to promote greater use of digital communications in health care, Buttigieg proposes to "massively expand coverage of high-speed broadband Internet across the country" while investing in new facilities for telehealth. This would allow doctors to work in underserved or rural communities in that time, according to Buttigieg's plan. It would expand a program that waives certain visa requirements for foreign doctors, and eliminate caps on certain visas so that immigrant doctors who commit to working in an "underserved" area for five years can get green cards. Buttigieg plans to reduce maternal mortality rates by funding pre-maternity homes and offering subsidies for housing and transportation.

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. 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".

Buttigieg said he would also strengthen the Indian Health Service, a federal government department charged with providing medical and public health services to Native American tribes and Alaska Native people. The Health Equity Zones under that plan would be in areas of health disparities in communities with a history of economic and social marginalization.

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