A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that there were 64 rural hospital closures in America between 2013 and 2017, representing a more than two-fold increase from the previous five-year period. The report indicated that these closures affected a disproportion amount of facilities located in the South and those with a higher amount of Medicare beneficiaries.
GAO believes the financial distress causing these closures is mostly due to reduced Medicare payments and fewer people seeking inpatient care. Rural hospitals that closed typically had negative margins, making it difficult to cover their fixed costs. States that have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare experienced fewer closures. Read the report. (Jacqueline Barton True)