CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — No matter what your political affiliation is – most agree rural America has been ill-prepared to handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
In West Virginia alone, three hospitals have closed in the past year, another – Williamson – will close at the end of this month – and those that are left need a life preserver.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin says, “20 billion dollars should be set aside for rural hospitals, and basically take into consideration the care that they’re given to the elderly”
During a nationwide phone conference, congressional democrats, including Senator Manchin, unveiled their plan to bolster rural america during the pandemic.
Aside from immediate money for hospitals, that plan calls for more spending on rural broadband. They say 26-percent of Americans living in rural areas don’t even have basic internet service.
Manchin add, “Telehealth is wonderful, if you have internet service, if you’re in a lot of rural America and rural Appalachia, you don’t.”
The third area is to find more money to solve the issue of food insecurity as increasing numbers of rural households are depending on food banks, food pantries and other charitable food assistance programs.
“We’ve got to keep this food flowing into our systems, and into the school systems, so that the students and families get what they need. And we’ve got to fight for that,” Manchin said.
The fight for those behind this rural report face a challenge in finding the money to pay for it in the Republican controlled Senate.
The full DCPP Rural report can be found below: