Study: Medicaid expansion is paying off in West Virginia when it comes to uninsured numbers

Metro News

By: Shauna Johnson

West Virginia is serving as example to other states when it comes to the benefits of expanding Medicaid in a new report from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and the University of North Carolina’s NC Rural Health Project. Released Tuesday, the report looks at changes in numbers of low-income adults without health insurance between 2008-2009 and 2015-2016. During that time period, researchers found West Virginia’s uninsured rate in that demographic fell from 35 percent to 14 percent with help from the Medicaid expansion — a 21 percentage point decline. “That’s really good news not just, of course, for those folks who are getting coverage, but also in rural areas, it’s especially important for those rural hospitals, those clinics that are seeing patients that are often having a really tough time keep their doors open,” said Joan Alker, one of the study’s authors.

“What we found in other states that haven’t (expanded) is that it’s really, really hard to make a dent in your uninsured rates in rural areas unless the state expands Medicaid,” said Alker.

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