A new study indicates that rural Nebraska is becoming more and more dependent on Medicaid to cover health care needs.
Rural Research Director Jon Bailey with the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons says the report discloses that Medicaid is the only insurer for many in rural areas.
“It provides health care services and access to health care for a large number of rural people who probably wouldn’t have access to those services otherwise, whose health would suffer because of that,” according to Bailey. “So, from a human perspective, it provides necessary services and access that these populations need.”
Bailey says rural hospitals have come to depend on Medicaid as well.
“It really does keep a lot of rural hospitals and clinics open, because those hospitals and clinics, the backbone of the rural health-care infrastructure depend so much on Medicaid and Medicare payments that they probably couldn’t keep their doors open otherwise,” Bailey says.
The report indicates a growing gap of dependency between rural America and its urban core. According to the study, 16% of rural Americans rely on Medicaid for health care coverage, compared to 13% in the cities.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this report.