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Recent posts by Johnathan Hladik

Here's what's at stake for rural America

Today, the new administration was officially sworn into office. As a result, we will be facing new challenges and opportunities, and together we must quickly adapt our plans to capitalize on them. We need your help now to ensure we are able to fight for a vibrant future for rural America.

Nebraska's Health Insurance Coverage Gap

Nebraska is one of 19 states that has not expanded Medicaid. The people who are most affected by this state government's decision to not expand Medicaid are the folks who fall into the “coverage gap.”

The U.S. Census Bureau's 2014 American Community Survey estimates that there are about 201,000 Nebraskans without health insurance, of which 118,000 are employed. Medicaid expansion covers those uninsured Nebraskans who fall into the “coverage gap.”

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Latino Rural Population Growing

Our home state of Nebraska has seen significant immigrant growth since the first wave in 1980s, and now has one of the fastest growing Latino populations in the nation. A recent report by the University of Nebraska projects the Latino population will reach 24% of the state’s population by 2050.

Furthermore, 43% of this growth has occurred in rural Nebraska. The majority population in some towns has shifted to Latino. For instance, Lexington, Nebraska, is now 60% Latino and Schuyler, Nebraska, is 65% Latino.

Cost Matters When it Comes to Health Insurance

At the Center for Rural Affairs, we often talk about the financial consequences of Medicaid expansion from the perspective of the greater community. We focus on savings to hospitals, businesses, and state and local budgets. But how does it affect the bank account of those paying the bills?

Board member Carol Schooley wanted to make sure she understood this side of the equation before showing her support for a bill to expand Medicaid in Nebraska. She asked us to break down the numbers and show our work. The results are below.

Dollars and Sense of Health Care Access in Nebraska

Nebraska is one of 17 states not adopting Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. This has left more than 79,000 individuals in a “coverage gap.”

Each individual covered through an expanded Medicaid program could save $1,100 on out-of-pocket health costs each year. When spent locally, these savings lead to 800 potential new jobs, $32 million in additional income, and $4.9 million in state and local tax revenues.

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