Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities

Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities

Medicaid plays a larger role in providing health coverage to families living in small towns and rural communities than it does in metropolitan areas, a report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families and the University of North Carolina's North Carolina Rural Health Research Program finds. Funded by the Pritzker Children's Initiative, the report, Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities (23 pages, PDF), found that in 2014-15, about 45 percent of children in small towns and rural areas relied on Medicaid for their coverage, compared with 38 percent in metro areas, and that in fourteen states, more than half of children outside metro areas receive health benefits from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. The study also found that the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion had a disproportionately positive impact on small towns and rural areas, reducing the uninsured rates of adults in those areas by 11 percentage points between 2008-09 and 2014-15. During the same period, the uninsured rate among children in small towns and rural areas fell in forty-three states, by a national average of 3 percentage points and by more than 8 percentage points in five states, due in part to increases in Medicaid coverage.