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The crisis of rural healthcare in Michigan 1st District

Access to quality healthcare is a fundamental right for every citizen, regardless of where they live.

ONTONAGON, Mich. — The residents of the Michigan 1st District are facing a dire situation as Aspirus Hospital, a vital healthcare facility in Ontonagon, is closing its doors. This closure raises serious concerns about the future of rural health care in our district.

Imagine finding yourself in need of emergency medical care, only to realize that the nearest Emergency Room is over 30 minutes away. This is the reality that many residents of our district will now face. With the closure of Aspirus Hospital, access to critical and life-saving services will be severely limited. 

The closure is just the tip of the iceberg. Nine out of the 23 hospitals in our district are currently operating with negative margins, placing their continued existence in jeopardy.

This alarming trend is not unique to our district. Over the past decade, more than 100 rural hospitals have shut down across the country, and an additional 600 rural hospitals, representing 30% of all rural hospitals, are at risk of closure soon. It is clear that a crisis in rural health care is unfolding before our eyes.

The question we must ask ourselves is: What is our plan? Local, state, and federal leaders must come together to address this pressing issue. The closure of rural hospitals not only affects the immediate access to healthcare but also has far-reaching consequences for the overall well-being of our communities.

We need a comprehensive strategy that ensures the preservation and sustainability of rural hospitals.

Saving rural hospitals, especially the small rural hospitals, should be a priority. These facilities play a crucial role in providing essential healthcare services to underserved populations.

While challenges exist, we must explore innovative solutions and ensure that the current plans are adequate to address the crisis. Our commitment to Rural America and Rural Health Care demands nothing less.

The closure of Aspirus Hospital in the Michigan 1st District is a wake-up call for all of us. The crisis in rural health care is real, and it demands urgent attention from our leaders. We must act swiftly to prevent further closures and ensure that every resident, regardless of their zip code, has access to the healthcare they deserve. Our lives depend on it.


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