Today, the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program at the University of North Carolina are releasing a report documenting the impact of Medicaid on small towns and rural communities. The impact is particularly powerful in Nebraska, where 34 percent of the population lives beyond metro areas. Adults and children in small towns and rural areas in Nebraska rely on Medicaid and Nebraska Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), more than those in metropolitan areas. The report, “Medicaid in Small Town America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities,” finds that 31 percent of children in rural areas and small towns in Nebraska receive health coverage through Medicaid and NE CHIP compared to 26 percent in urban areas of the state. For adults, 7 percent in non-metro areas are covered by Medicaid.
For children, the report’s data show a clear correlation between increases in Medicaid and CHIP coverage and decreases in the rate of uninsured kids in small towns and rural areas.
“Medicaid provides critical access to life-saving treatment and protection from rising health care costs to many children and families living in small towns and rural America,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “Cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs would take those protections away from many and risk financial ruin, denial of health care, or both.”
When kids and families have health insurance, our entire community is strengthened. More access to health coverage can mean fewer visits to the emergency room, and more people getting and staying healthy. When children and families have access to affordable, quality physical and behavioral health care, children have the best start to grow up to be healthy and productive adults. We must not turn our backs on the progress we’ve made in getting our children the health coverage they need to succeed.