A Tough Row to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Rural Health Care in the Dust

A Tough Roe to Hoe: How Republican Policies are Leaving Rural Health Care in the Dust, is a new report released this week by one of West Virginians Together for Medicaid’s many collaborating organizations, Protect Our Care. The report finds that since 2010, 84 rural hospitals have closed. The vast majority – 90 percent – were in states that had refused to expand Medicaid at the time of the hospital’s closure.  And remember that the Medicaid expansion is a bargain for the states - the federal government pays at least 90 percent of the costs of the program. 

In West Virginia, our legislature had the wisdom and the compassion to be one of the first states to expand Medicaid. The Medicaid expansion in 2014 has allowed more than 180,000 West Virginia adults – of which about 2/3rds work but don’t have health insurance benefits at their low-wage jobs – have quality and affordable health insurance. With Medicaid, these West Virginians can go to a doctor and get the medical care they need to stay healthy and productive.

Rural hospitals financial status improved in Medicaid expansion states:

    • uncompensated care costs fell 43%
    •  Medicaid revenue as a share of total hospital revenue rose 33%
    • operating margins increased by 4 percentage points (difference between total revenues & operating costs)

There is no question that the Medicaid expansion in West Virginia has been a life-line for our rural hospitals. 

West Virginians Together for Medicaid