rural communities feed and fuel our country, steward our precious
lands, and are home to 1 out of every 5 Americans. As we continue
to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and make the investments we need to
build back better, we must ensure that our recovery includes and
strengthens our Nation's rural communities. On National Rural
Health Day, we recommit to supporting the health and well-being of
rural Americans and celebrate the rural health care providers who work
tirelessly to meet their needs.
Rural Americans face unique challenges accessing the care they
need and deserve. They often have to travel greater distances to
see a health care provider, are less likely to have access to broadband
to utilize telehealth services, and are more likely to live in an
area that has a shortage of doctors, dentists, and mental health
providers. While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has spared
no part of the country, rural areas have confronted additional
challenges that affect the delivery of services, including limited
health care infrastructure and fewer clinicians.
My Administration is committed to improving the health of rural
communities and ensuring that those who call these communities home
have equitable access to the resources and services routinely available
to people living in more densely populated areas. That is why my
American Rescue Plan (ARP) is providing $8.5 billion to rural
health providers to keep their doors open and continue responding to
the COVID-19 pandemic. This builds on over $820 million in ARP
spending from earlier this year to support COVID-19 testing and
mitigation across 4,200 Rural Health Clinics and over 1,500 small rural
hospitals and $100 million in ARP funding to support the vaccine
outreach efforts of Rural Health Clinics.
My Administration's plan also provided $500 million to
create the Emergency Rural Health Care Grant Program, which is helping
rural communities provide more COVID-19 testing and treatment, purchase
medical supplies, deliver food assistance, and renovate health care
facilities. These investments are complemented by funds to expand
telehealth and support training for new rural health care providers,
including community health workers and respiratory therapists.
This funding has supported thousands of Rural Health Clinics,
small rural hospitals, and community health workers.
My Administration's Build Back Better framework will build on the
successes of the ARP by delivering lower cost, higher quality health
care to rural Americans. My Administration's proposal is the
biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade and will
lower prescription drug and other health care costs for rural
Americans, keep rural hospitals open, and work to address the root
causes of poor health, including outdated drinking water infrastructure
across rural America. Additionally, my Administration is
coordinating efforts across Federal, State, Tribal, territorial, and
local governments and incorporating health equity principles, policies,
and approaches in our efforts to better support rural communities.
This means supporting rural hospitals and clinics, expanding
telehealth and workforce development, improving community health, and
providing greater access to capital so that every American can receive
lower cost and higher quality health care.
On National Rural Health Day, we recognize the importance of the health
and well-being of our rural communities. As our Nation builds
back better, we recommit to supporting our rural health care providers
and working together to bring about a stronger, healthier rural
NOW, THERFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States
of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution
and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 18,
2021, as National Rural Health Day. I call upon the people of the
United States to reaffirm our dedication to the health and well-being
of rural America.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord
two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the
United States of America the two hundred and
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
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