Nationally, the researchers found a direct connection between increases in Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Plan coverage and reductions in the rate of uninsured children in small towns and rural areas. Because of these gains there are currently more children in Texas with health coverage than at any other time in our history.
This progress is encouraging for the future of our state. When children receive preventive care, screenings and therapies provided through health coverage, they enter school ready to learn. They miss fewer days of school. They have higher rates of high school graduation and college attendance. As adults they earn higher wages and pay more taxes. Texas simply can’t afford to lose ground in this area.
The U.S. Senate is considering whether to include Medicaid cuts in their version of health care reform. Included in the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May was an $800 billion cut to Medicaid. This goes far beyond rolling back the Medicaid expansion created in the Affordable Care Act and will create deep cuts to existing programs and shift burdens to states for care for children, the disabled and the elderly.
Proposed cuts to Medicaid could have a ripple effect in rural areas affecting residents who aren’t directly covered by Medicaid. Hospitals, clinics, and physicians serving our state’s small towns and rural communities see a significant number of patients covered by Medicaid. Reducing coverage in these areas will result in increased ER visits and uncompensated care that will drive up costs for everyone and put rural hospitals at risk of closing their doors.