The Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the University of North Carolina Rural Health Research Project released a new report on the expansion of Medicaid and the impact it may have had in South Carolina.
Part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act gave states the option to expand Medicaid eligibility to those households at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. South Carolina Republican leaders elected not to expand the program, saying the state budget was already strained by Medicaid growth.
Center for Children and Families (CCF) executive director Joan Alker told South Carolina Radio Network the report finds higher rates of patients with no insurance.
“The bad news for states like South Carolina that didn’t expand Medicaid is that you continue to have some of the highest uninsured rates in the country,” Alker said. “And those are particularly high in the rural areas.”
The reports suggests low-income adult citizens living in small towns and rural areas saw their uninsured rates improve from 35 percent to 16 percent in those states which expanded eligibility, while those in non-expansion states only saw modest improvements 38 percent to 32 percent rate improvements. Alker said the sharpest decline in uninsured rates occurred in rural areas of states that have expanded Medicaid.
“If South Carolina did go ahead and expand Medicaid that would be very good news for small towns and rural communities,” Alker said.
The full report is available at ccf.georgetown.edu, along with interactive maps showing state and county-by-county breakdowns of coverage data.