A new study finds the number of uninsured children in Mississippi, is dropping because of Medicaid coverage.
Sixty percent of children in Mississippi's rural areas and small towns get their healthcare through Medicaid. That is the result of a study by the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute. The rate is one of the highest in the nation. But the number of uninsured children in the state has dropped 10 points, between 2008 and 2015, which is significant says Jack Hoadley. He helped conduct the study. Hoadley says Medicaid is a lifeline for small towns and rural communities where there maybe more low-income families.
"But it's also is a reflection of differences in things like the job market. If you're in an area that has opportunities to get insurance through the workplace, that maybe more common in a city than in a town," said Hoadley.
The report found the rate of children insured by Medicaid in Mississippi's urban areas is lower at 46 percent. The nationwide study found a decline in the number of uninsured children in rural towns in many states. Mississippi's uninsured rate dropped from 11 to 4 percent. The national average is 3 percent. The decline in uninsured children was greater in states that expanded Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. Roy Mitchell is with the Mississippi Health Advocacy Program.
"As a result of outreach efforts for the ACA, families became more informed in this state of the availability or the potential availability of coverage. So they explored their options and they found that their children were eligible for Medicaid," said Mitchell.
Mitchell says spending money to keep children healthy is cost effective and improves overall educational and economic gains. He's concerned Congress is considering bills that would provide less funding to states, which could cap benefits or remove people from the rolls.