Monday, July 10, 2017

Rural counties with more than half of kids on Medicaid voted overwhelmingly for Trump

More than half the children in 780 mainly rural counties rely on Medicaid and the related Children's Health Insurance Program, and 617 of those counties voted for President Trump, Noam Levey reports for the Los Angeles Times, drawing on data from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute's Rural Health Policy Project.

For an interactive map, with data for all 780 counties, click here.
Parents and medical providers are becoming increasingly alarmed as the Republicans who many of them voted for are moving to scale back those programs, Noam N. Levey reports for the Los Angeles Times.

"There is just no way to cut Medicaid on the scale that they are talking about and avoid hitting kids," said Dr. Traci Acklin of Montgomery, W.Va., where more than two-thirds of the voters backed Trump. "Without the health insurance, kids aren't going to get the immunizations and the checkups. There are going to be more lost days of school. More trips to the emergency room. . . . It would be food or health care for a lot of these families."

Some Republicans in Congress have been listening to these concerns. Levey and Lisa Mascaro of the Times note that several GOP lawmakers, including West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, have stalled the Republicans' Senate health-care bill. Polls show the Senate plan is supported by less than 20 percent of the public. The plan would limit payments to states instead of reimbursing them a percentage of what they spend. "The funding cap in the Senate bill would increase only at the rate of inflation, reports Levey, "leaving states with an increasingly larger share of medical costs, which have typically increased faster than inflation."

Medicaid and CHIP coverage for children has expanded over the last 20 years. Today, only 5 percent of children lack health coverage, compared to 14 percent two decades ago, notes Levey. Republicans insist that they won't take away those gains. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price recently said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that the new legislation will make sure that "nobody falls through the cracks."

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