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Feds rule Md. county out of running for rural health funding

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski is asking the federal government to reconsider a decision making Allegany County ineligible for rural health care grants.

The Maryland Democrat asked the Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday to consider exempting the western Maryland county from an urban-area designation based on the 2010 census. The county previously was designated a rural community.

Mikulski says the loss of funding eligibility will make it hard for many residents to afford quality health care.

The Census Bureau says Allegany had a population of about 75,000 in 2010, about the same as in 2000 and 1990. The county’s population has declined by about 10,000 since the 1970s as manufacturing jobs disappeared.