Rural Areas Could Suffer In States That Opt Against Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid Expansion updates from around the country.

 Rural areas could suffer in states that opt against Medicaid expansion.

The goal of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is supposed to cover more of the working poor and balance out cuts that were made to already-struggling hospitals. However, Republican-led states have been opting out or holding out, while outlying areas in states like Tennessee may be the most severely impacted.

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Partners for Healing in Tullahoma, Tenn., offers care exclusively to the uninsured workers — and there’s a number of them in the town of 18,000 — with a number of studies indicating that rural Americans are more likely to have low-wage jobs, and no insurance.

Kentucky Democrat Governor Steve Beshear announced that he will expand Medicaid coverage and nearly cut the state’s uninsured population in half. The expansion will extend coverage to adults earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line, providing public health assistance to more than 300,000 people.

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Those pushing for Medicaid expansion credited GOP lawmakers for putting forth a House bill for discussion. Senate Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss the plan but failed to reach a consensus.

(Related: How Much Will Medicaid Cost in the Future and Why: Federal Projections)

A health advocacy group has developed a compromise proposal in hopes of ending the debate in California of how to expand Medi-CalHealth Access California proposes a time frame and percentages for the state and countries to share $1.4 billion in savings when Medi-Cal coverage is expanded next year. State and county officials have been playing tug-a-war with how the windfall should be divided.

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