The Phoenix Flyer

Florida’s uninsured: Many low-income adults in rural areas still don’t have health insurance

By: - September 28, 2018 1:31 pm

Florida is one of the states that didn’t expand Medicaid coverage for certain low-income adults, and now there are consequences: Nearly 40 percent of those adults are uninsured in their small towns and rural areas, a new study shows.

Seven other “non-expansion” states also have more than a third of their low-income adults without health insurance in rural areas. Those states are South Dakota, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, Missouri and Mississippi.

That’s according to a recent study by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the University of North Carolina Rural Health Research Program.

Researchers examined how Medicaid expansion (or lack of) has impacted low-income adult citizens in the 46 states with significant rural populations, including Florida.

The study found that the states that opted to expand Medicaid saw uninsured rates for low-income rural adults drop from 35 percent to 16 percent between 2008 and 2016.

States that opted not to expand (including Florida, which last rejected the expansion in 2014) saw a much smaller decline in the number of uninsured adults living in rural areas – a decline of 38 percent to 32 percent.

The study also listed the rural Florida counties with the most uninsured adults: Putnam, Columbia, Jackson, Suwannee and Okeechobee.

Health care in general has taken a front row in Florida’s Nov. 6 general election.

But political analysts say there is little hope that the midterm elections are going to change the state’s outlook on Medicaid expansion, according to a Miami Herald story published earlier this year.

The state’s Legislature has been dominated by Republican rule for nearly two decades and has shown little interest in policy that would cover roughly 660,000 uninsured adults, the Miami Herald reported.


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CD Davidson-Hiers
CD Davidson-Hiers

CD Davidson-Hiers is a 2017 summa cum laude graduate of Florida State University with a degree in Creative Writing and French. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honors societies, and has received multiple writing awards for fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Prior to joining the Florida Phoenix, CD worked at the Tallahassee Democrat and has bylines in Tallahassee Magazine. She is a native of Pensacola and currently lives in Tallahassee with her tabby cat, Faulkner.