Expanding Medicaid would most impact rural Missourians

As a new legislative session begins, a new study, co-authored by the Brown School's McBride, examines effects of potential boost in aid throughout Missouri

Rural Missourians would benefit the most in 2014 if state lawmakers approve more than $1 billion in new federal funding for Medicaid.


A new study, released this week through the Missouri Budget Project and jointly authored by Timothy McBride, PhD, professor in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis; Sidney Watson, JD, of Saint Louis University; and Amy Blouin of the Missouri Budget Project, finds benefits throughout the entire state but most significantly in reducing the number of uninsured in rural areas.

“The entire state would benefit from the expansion, both by the reduction in the rate of the uninsured, and by the infusion of a large amount of federal dollars into the economy,” McBride says. “However, because rural persons are more likely to be uninsured and eligible for the expansion, then they and their providers would benefit more from the expansion with a larger positive fiscal impact in those counties.”

If approved, Medicaid eligibility would extend from the current 19 percent of the federal poverty level to 138 percent.

That would, in turn, reduce the state’s uninsured by more than one-fourth, provide coverage for roughly 267,000 previously uninsured Missourians, and bring an estimated $1.56 billion in new federal health care matching funds into the state’s economy in 2014.

“While there are more people in urban areas who would qualify for the Medicaid expansion, as a proportion of the population, rural populations are more likely to be uninsured for several reasons,” McBride says.

“Rural individuals are more likely to be working for small employers, to make low wages if working, and to be in poverty. All of these reasons mean that many adults and their families could benefit from the Medicaid expansion.”

To read the full report, visit http://www.mobudget.org/articles/show/294-Medicaid_Expansion_Has_Most_Critical_Impact_in_Rural_Missouri