Center For Rural Affairs Report says new program under the Affordable Care Act is critical for rural Nebraskans

The Center For Rural Affairs released a new report Monday that examines the effect a new Medicaid program would have on Nebraska’s rural communities.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gives states the opportunity to provide coverage to low-income residents under age 65 through a new Medicaid program with significant federal assistance.

The report, New Medicaid Initiative in Nebraska: The Rural Implications, concludes rural Nebraskans desperately need the increased access to healthcare and economic boost to rural economies that would come with the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid initiative. The report also outlines the differences between the three reports currently available on the possible Medicaid expansion in Nebraska, and makes clear that the recent report from the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Center for Health Policy, and the report from the Urban Institute, are more accurate and more carefully considered than the report from Milliman.

Some of the report’s highlights include: 

  • The Medicaid program would allow between 45,000 and 54,000 adults in rural Nebraska to afford health insurance.
  • The average Nebraska family would see their health insurance costs drop by more than $600 every year by eliminating the “hidden tax” of uncompensated care that insurance companies pass on to customers.
  • Medicaid would stabilize the rural health care system.  Rural doctors receive 20 percent of all patient revenue from Medicaid, and Medicaid and Medicare account for 60 percent of all cash flow in rural hospitals.  An expanded Medicaid increases the number of insured patients these doctors and hospitals will be able to serve.
  • The program would finance between 10,000 and 13,000 jobs per year in rural Nebraska.

Jon Bailey, the Rural Research Director at the Center For Rural Affairs and the report’s author, said the Medicaid program is the right moral and financially responsible choice and will impact rural Nebraskans even more than those that live in the state’s larger cities.

“It will create jobs and economic activity in the state, while also benefitting Nebraskans who work hard and play by the rules,” Bailey said in a statement.  “The new Medicaid initiative will help make people healthier, will reduce the number of health care-related bankruptcies and make Nebraska a better place to live and raise families.”

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