U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Alabama, has been selected co-chair of the House Ways & Means Committee’s Rural and Underserved Communities Health Task Force, a task force aimed at finding solutions to the challenges facing health care in rural and underserved communities.
The bipartisan task force will bring members and experts together to discuss the challenges of delivering health care in rural and underserved areas and explore policy options that could improve outcomes and care in those communities.
Data from the Center for Disease Control shows that rates for the top five leading causes of death in the United States, including heart disease, cancer, unintentional injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke, are higher in rural communities.
According to a 2017 report by the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, rural populations have more uninsured residents under age 65 and higher rates of mortality than populations in urban areas.
Sewell said she is looking forward to working with the task force to advance meaningful and transformative policies that improve medical access and address health disparities in rural and underserved communities like she represents.
“In the wealthiest nation in the world, it shouldn’t matter where you live or how much money you make – every American should have universal access to quality, affordable health care,” Sewell said in a statement.
Along with Sewell, the group with also be co-chaired by Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-Illinois, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, and Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas.
The group plans to hold its first meeting on Thursday, July 25.