Study: Medicaid Cuts Disproportionately Harm Rural Areas

Jun 7, 2017

A new study by Georgetown University finds that most Medicaid recipients live in rural areas.

In Maine, 38 percent of children on Medicaid live in rural areas, compared with 30 percent in urban areas. For adults, the difference is 19 percent and 13 percent.

Research professor Jack Hoadley says funding cuts to Medicaid being considered by Congress would harm rural patients and hospitals in particular.

“If you take a person who’s on Medicaid and you were to take their Medicaid coverage away,” he says, “if they were to have an emergency, they’re going to still show up at the hospital and get treated. But instead of having Medicaid dollars pay those bills, you’ve got nobody paying the bill.”

Hoadley says hospitals would have to absorb the difference, and ultimately transfer its higher costs on to those with insurance.

“Some of the changes that are being discussed, like funding caps, they could lead to cuts in services for children living in poverty. They could really jeopardize some of those core protections,” says Claire Berkowitz of the Maine Children’s Alliance.

Berkowitz says statewide, more than 130,000 Maine children rely on Medicaid.