Thursday, February 26, 2015

Largely rural states that didn't expand Medicaid have highest number of uninsured residents

Massachusetts has the lowest number of uninsured residents, while Arkansas and Kentucky—two states that expanded Medicaid under federal health reform—saw the biggest drops in the number of uninsured residents from 2013 to 2014, says a report by Gallup.

Arkansas, which expanded Medicaid under a Democratic governor—Republican incumbent Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he wants to end it—ranked 49th in 2013 with 22.5 percent of residents uninsured, before moving up to 18th in 2013 with 11.4 percent uninsured, a national best drop of 11.1 percent. Kentucky, which has a Democratic governor but typically votes Republican in presidential elections, was ranked 40th in 2013 with 20.4 percent uninsured. In 2014 Kentucky was ranked 11th with 9.8 percent uninsured.

Massachusetts had a national low of 4.6 percent uninsured in 2014. Next was Hawaii and Connecticut, 6 percent; Vermont and Minnesota, 7.4 percent; Maryland, 7.8 percent; Iowa, 8.3 percent; Wisconsin, 8.4 percent; Rhode Island, 9.4 percent; and Delaware, 9.6 percent.

As expected, states with large rural populations that chose not to expand Medicaid had the highest number of uninsured in 2014. Texas led the way with 24.4 percent of residents uninsured, followed by Georgia, 19.1 percent; Mississippi, 18.7 percent; Oklahoma, 18.5 percent; Florida, 18.3 percent, Arizona, 17.5 percent, Louisiana, 17.2 percent; and Alaska, 16.2 percent. (Read more)

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