A UNC study published in September in the journal Health Affairs found that rural hospitals are more likely to turn a profit in states that expanded Medicaid. For example, rural hospitals in non-expansion states had mean operating margins of − 0.18 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in states that expanded Medicaid. "In contrast, urban hospitals in non-expansion states were, on average, more profitable than those in expansion states, with mean operating margins of 6.92 percent and 3.51 percent, respectively." (UNC graphic: Operating margins for hospitals)
reports for Kaiser Health News. The study shows that "all hospitals generally fared better under the larger Medicaid program, but there’s more at stake for rural hospitals when the state expands coverage."
"Rural hospitals serve more low-income people—who weren’t eligible for insurance before, but who got covered after the health law took effect," Luthra writes. "And rural hospitals are historically more likely to operate at a loss than are urban ones. So the chance to see increased revenue is greater than in a city-based hospital."