ICYMI: Senator Marshall Joins Rural Health Matters on RFD-TV To Discuss Access to Health Care Across Rural America, Mental Health, and the Upcoming Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. joined Rural Health Matters on RFD-TV to discuss issues in rural America, challenges we are seeing with health care in rural America and the upcoming Farm Bill.

You may click HERE or on the image above to watch Senator Marshall’s full interview.

Highlights from Senator Marshall’s interview include:

On issues with rural health care: 

“What I see being successful out there in rural America, our federally qualified health centers, and you may know them as community health centers, we have 32 of them across the state of Kansas. And this is where people go for their primary care. There’s also a dentist in most of these clinics as well. But we’re also trying to bring in food banks and mental health experts and people that can teach nutrition classes and teach people how to cook as well, trying to meet people where they’re at.”

“And that would be the goal, been working very hard on this with Bernie Sanders. Yes, Bernie Sanders is one of my closest friends up here. So we’re trying to improve that access to health care. And what else we’re doing in this legislation, there’s a shortage of physicians and nurses in rural America. So we have extra funding available to help those areas as well.”

On the Farm Bill:

“The challenge was getting farm back in the Farm Bill. Right now, the farm bill is dominated by nutrition programs, probably encompassing about 85% of the Farm Bill is nutrition programs. But what we’re trying to fight for is more funding for crop insurance, as well as the title one programs, the ARC and PLC programs. And really, what’s good for agriculture is good for rural America.”

“So whether you live in the city or out in the country, that’s still the backbone of every farm bill, are those two particular programs. So right now, this is still challenging, we’re struggling to try to find the money on this. I’ll just quickly say that when we did the last farm bill, we had budgeted $60 billion a year for food assistance, and we’re spending $180 billion a year on food assistance. So you know, frankly, in a country where we’re in $34 trillion of debt right now, we’re struggling to find the money to make this happen. But we want to make sure that we put farm back in the Farm Bill.”

On mental health in rural America and the impact on young farmers:

“Suicide is the number one or two killer for young farmers. We have a much, much higher incidence in agriculture than other professions, and why wouldn’t we, right? Our interest rates are through the roof, our cost of gasoline, fertilizer, I mean, the stress is very, very, very real right now. You throw on the seven plagues of Egypt that we’ve had in Kansas, the drought, the hail storms, and all those things, the pressure is very real. So we took a week and used every megaphone that we had to educate people in Kansas and just said, this is agriculture, Farmer Mental Health Awareness Week.”

“We went across the state and got people to gather, you know, folks from the Farm Bureaus of the world and the Corn Association, and wheat and soybeans, and we got them together with local health care providers. There are lots of resources out there. I just did some education with those groups and then gave them the opportunity to take these providers back to their monthly or annual associations to talk about mental health.”