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Rural Health Care Gets National Funding Boost for Telemedicine, Education Efforts

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture is issuing a round of funding for several health care and education projects in Kentucky, Tennessee and southern Illinois to celebrate National Rural Health Day.

On a media call today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said people in rural areas paid more and had less access to health care before the Affordable Care Act passed.

He says now there are far fewer people uninsured in rural areas, with Kentucky’s uninsured rates dropping nearly 9 percentage points from 2013 to midyear 2014 according to a Gallup study.  

"Seventy percent of the folks that have signed up through a health care exchange now know that health care insurance can be an affordable opportunity for them," Vilsack said. "They are now seeing health care premiums with the tax credits that they receive at $100 or less a month.”

Among the USDA grants are a nearly $289,000 expansion of the TriStar Health telemedicine network in Kentucky and Tennessee for rural stroke victims and an almost $440,000 distance learning program for the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market that would connect college faculty with high school and adult education students.


Whitney grew up listening to Car Talk to and from her family’s beach vacation each year, but it wasn’t until a friend introduced her to This American Life that radio really grabbed her attention. She is a recent graduate from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., where she studied journalism. When she’s not at WKMS, you can find her working on her backyard compost pile and garden, getting lost on her bicycle or crocheting one massive blanket.
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