Rural Recipients of Care Access Under ACA Stand to Benefit Greatly

August 2, 2013
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It’s a bit of a conundrum for states with a significant rural demographic: how to get the word out about the ACA and its expansive coverage benefits profile, as legislators and governors do little to spur the process along. As expected, some crimson red states are fighting the Medicaid expansion provision tooth-and-nail, with such high profile figures as Rick Perry (R-TX) leading the PR charge.

It’s a bit of a conundrum for states with a significant rural demographic: how to get the word out about the ACA and its expansive coverage benefits profile, as legislators and governors do little to spur the process along. As expected, some crimson red states are fighting the Medicaid expansion provision tooth-and-nail, with such high profile figures as Rick Perry (R-TX) leading the PR charge. But what about those rural, ideologically red states that have quietly accepted the SCOTUS-modified provision?

Sure, those states’ chief executives have all but perfunctorily held their collective noses while agreeing to be a part of reform’s drive into areas where population demographics — not electoral ones — seem to be guiding prudence into the provision’s implementation. The reticence of those red states that choose to go with Obamacare in this sense have done the bare minimum in accepting the provision — at the very least as a mechanism to ensure some sort of fiscal shield against ever-skyrocketing healthcare costs, while essentially refusing any sort of effort to publicize the potential benefits of Medicaid expansion and major susbsidies for huge swaths of uninsured in the nation’s rural locales.

Where does that leave ACA proponents? It’s all about getting the word out.

A larger proportion of the rural population than the urban population is uninsured and low income (living at or below 138% of the federal poverty line [FPL]) (9.9% as compared to 8.5%) and a larger proportion of the rural population than the urban population will be eligible for subsidized Health Insurance Marketplace (HIM) coverage due to income levels and current lack of insurance (10.7% as compared to 9.6%).

That, according to the director of the Rural Policy Research Institute’s Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, a prominent think tank. Apparently the feds agree — education on this access issue among the nation’s rural population is key to the success of the ACA in the short term. The government is so intent on getting around PR pitfalls engineered by ACA opponents, it is willing to shell out more than $200M to make it happen. Game on!