Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - December 14, 2018 


The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

Daily Newscasts

Rural Communities Lack Progress in Reducing Rate of Uninsured – Report

The Georgetown Center for Children and Families says Missouri is among the states with the most to gain from an expansion of Medicaid. (Olivier B/flickr)
The Georgetown Center for Children and Families says Missouri is among the states with the most to gain from an expansion of Medicaid. (Olivier B/flickr)
September 27, 2018

ST. LOUIS – Missourians in the rural parts of the state have a harder time accessing health care, compared to some neighboring states, according to a report released this week by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The analysis shows that states that expanded Medicaid saw more than three times the rate of decline in the uninsured adult population in rural areas and small towns than those such as Missouri that did not.

While that is a tough reality for those without coverage, Joel Ferber, director of advocacy for Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, says it presents a challenge to everyone involved.

"We know health insurance matters,” he states. “We help individuals access Medicaid and other subsidized health insurance coverage, because it enables them to pay medically necessary treatments and medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and a host of other conditions."

According to the Georgetown report, the rate of uninsured adults in the rural parts of the state remained unchanged from prior to the Affordable Care Act to now, while other states saw reductions in the number of people without insurance.

Currently 35 percent of people in rural Missouri are without insurance, while 26 percent are without it in the metro areas.

Arkansas, which did expand Medicaid, saw a significant reduction of uninsured in rural areas, from 45 to 22 percent.

Report co-author Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, says Missouri is among the states with the most to gain from an expansion.

"There are a number of these states that we took a look at where the Medicaid expansion would be really, disproportionately helpful to those rural areas,” she points out. “The four with the biggest gaps are Missouri, Utah, Florida and then Virginia, which soon will be implementing Medicaid expansion."

Ferber says his agency frequently encounters people without health insurance coverage, with some significant consequences.

"We have had clients who have had to forego medical treatment for injuries for domestic violence, or are burdened with medical debt because they had no health insurance, so it's obviously of concern to us when we find out our rural clients are missing out," he states.

According to the report, one-fourth of those without coverage are also parents. Numerous studies indicate that when parents lack coverage, it impacts the health and well-being of their children as well.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - MO