June 7, 2017

A larger share of children in small towns and rural areas of Kansas rely on Medicaid to protect them from rising health care costs than those living in urban areas of the state, according to a new report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families and the Rural Health Research Project of the University of North Carolina.

The report, “Medicaid in Small Town America: A Lifeline for Children, Families and Communities,” finds that 36 percent of children in rural areas and small towns in Kansas receive coverage through Medicaid, compared to 27 percent in urban areas of the state. For adults, the figures are 9 percent in non-metro areas and 7 percent in metro regions.

“Medicaid provides critical access to life-saving treatment and protection from rising health care costs to many children and families living in small towns and rural America,” said Joan Alker, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. “Cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs would take those protections away from many and risk financial ruin, denial of health care, or both.”

Kansas did not accept Medicaid expansion. Still, the rate of uninsured adults in small towns and rural areas dropped from 20 to 15 percent thanks partially to Medicaid coverage which grew from 7 to 9 percent among adults in these areas.

“When kids and families have health insurance, our entire state is strengthened,” said Annie McKay, President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children. “More access to care provided by opportunities like KanCare expansion can mean fewer visits to the ER, less uncompensated care and more people getting—and staying—healthy. We must not turn our backs on the progress we’ve made in getting our children the health coverage they need to succeed.”

The report primarily relies on data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS). The full report, along with interactive maps showing a county-by-county breakdown on health care coverage data, are available at:

# # #