The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the health disparities between urban and rural communities as rural populations face more limited health care capacities and worse COVID-19 outcomes than their urban counterparts. When this article was written, congress was debating continuing federal funds for free COVID-19 testing, vaccines, and treatment. In this article, we discuss the potential consequences rural communities may experience should such funding fail to be approved. Peer-reviewed literature and our research indicate these budget cuts could harm rural communities' financial distress, risk of severe disease outcomes, and trust in health care systems, making continued funding for public health resources critical for vulnerable rural communities.
- rural health disparities
- rural populations