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States opting out of Medicaid leave 1.1 million community health center patients without health insurance
Date:5/8/2014

have helped 5.2 million out of a total of 7.5 million uninsured community health center patients to gain health coverage either by buying affordable policies or qualifying for Medicaid under the expansion programs. However, 1.1 million of the 5.2 million who could have gained coverage will remain uninsured due to states' decisions to opt out of the Medicaid expansion.

This report also shows that of the 1.1 million community health center patients left struggling without insurance, 35 percent live in just five opt-out states (AL, FL, GA, LA, MS).

"Health center patients living in the South remain disproportionately affected by the failure to expand Medicaid," says Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at Milken Institute SPH. "Of the community health center patients denied coverage by virtue of their zip code, most live in the south and more than one third lives in the Deep South." Poor, minority patients in these states already face troubling disparities in health and health care. The decision to reject the Medicaid expansion threatens to make those disparities even worse, the report says.

The analysis also shows that health centers in the opt-out states will likely forgo over half a billion dollars ($569 million) in revenues they would have received under a Medicaid expansion. The loss of potential revenues presents significant challenges to these health centers, which already struggle to care for rising numbers of uninsured patients. In addition, the loss of federal revenues associated with an expansion also means these health centers will not be able to expand into areas that lack access to health care, the report says.

"While the number of uninsured Americans is going down across the nation thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured or underinsured patients seeking care at community health centers continues to grow," says Feygele Jacobs, president and CEO of the R
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Contact: Kathy Fackelmann
kfackelmann@gwu.edu
202-994-8354
George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services
Source:Eurekalert  

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States opting out of Medicaid leave 1.1 million community health center patients without health insurance
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