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NRHA applauds creation of White House Rural Council, pleased rural health is priority

Today, the Obama Administration established the first White House Rural Council and named access to affordable health care among the council’s top priorities. NRHA is pleased the White House is focused on improving the lives of the 62 million Americans who call rural home. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will chair the new advisory team working toward bettering the economic outlook and quality of life for rural residents. The council will make recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including organizations, small businesses and state, local and tribal governments. The White House has asked the council to begin its work by focusing on these 10 factors for growth, many of which impact rural health: • Health care: Improve access to quality health care through expansion of health technology systems • Jobs: Improve job training and workforce development in rural America • Agriculture: Expand markets for agriculture, including regional food systems and exports • Access to credit: Increase opportunity by expanding access to capital in rural communities and fostering local investment • Innovation: Promote the expansion of biofuels production capacity and community based renewable energy projects • Networks: Develop high-growth regional economies by capitalizing on inherent regional strengths • Education: Increase post-secondary enrollment rates and completion for rural students • Broadband: Support the president’s plan to increase broadband opportunities in rural America • Infrastructure: Coordinate investment in critical infrastructure • Ecosystem markets: Expanding opportunities for conservation, outdoor opportunities and economic growth on working lands and public lands

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