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Report: Rural Iowa Depends on Medicaid

March 19, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Rural Iowa's demographics lean mostly to seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families - and they depend on Medicaid insurance. A report from the Center for Rural Affairs concludes that Medicaid is crucial in rural areas.

Report author Jon Bailey says some people may look at Medicaid as a government hand-out, but it's far from it.

"For children, this is the furthest thing from a welfare program because their parents are working: they just can't, for whatever reason, access health insurance."

He says without Medicaid, many hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities and mental health services would likely be non-existent.

"Those doctors, those hospitals, those clinics, a lot of them would likely shut their doors, or wouldn't exist in rural areas, without Medicaid payments."

Bailey says Iowa, like many states, is considering reducing Medicaid expenditures, but he says that, besides providing health care access, Medicaid also helps the rural economy by funding jobs at health care facilities.

The report is at files.cfra.org.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA