A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky has 6 of top 10 counties for adults on Medicaid; Bell County is 9th for children’s coverage

Of the top 10 rural counties in the United States where adults are most dependent on Medicaid for their health care, Kentucky has six.

They are Wolfe, ranking first with 45 percent of its adults on Medicaid; Bell, with 44 percent; Breathitt and Owsley, 43 percent each; Lee, 42 percent; and Harlan, 40 percent.

The figures come from the Rural Health Policy Project of the Center for Children and Families in the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

The project also identified the top 10 counties for children on Medicaid or the related Children’s Health Insurance Program; Bell County ranked ninth, with 74 percent.

The Los Angeles Times overlaid the data with the presidential election results and “found that 617 of the 780 counties in rural areas or small towns where over half of the children were covered by Medicaid or CHIP voted for President Trump,” the project reports.

He carried all such counties in Kentucky.

The Times notes, “As a candidate, Trump said he wasn’t going to cut Medicaid but he has supported the Medicaid cuts approved by the House and pending in the Senate.” Medicaid spending would increase with those bills, but its purchasing power would decline because new spending limits would not allow it to keep up with health-care inflation.

The Times has an interactive map with data for all 780 counties where most children are on Medicaid or CHIP. Here’s a screenshot, showing Kentucky counties and using Bell as the example:

From Kentucky Health News

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One Comment

  1. Carl says:

    Kentucky is also high on the list of counties with the most smokers. More than 60% of the annual medical costs- amounting to billions of dollars every year- of smoking diseases and secondhand smoke, including pediatric exposure*, is paid for by government programs like Medicaid **. As long as there is separate private medical insurance, Medicare, group plans and/or employer provided medical insurance- and until and unless something like single payer or Medicare for all from birth comes along- Medicaid is healthcare welfare and smokers on Medicaid must do their part to be healthier- plus stop making children around them ill- by quitting.
    In addition, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson must immediately implement the HUD public housing smoking ban and strictly enforce it.
    There is no constitutional right to smoke because the U.S. Constitution does not give special protection to smokers. The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not include smokers as a protected class. Smoking is not a specially protected liberty right under the U.S. Constitution Due Process Clause and smoking is not included in the right to privacy.
    *World Health Organization, Tobacco Fact sheet Updated May 2017
    **Am J Prev Med. 2015 Mar;48(3):326-33.
    Annual healthcare spending attributable to cigarette smoking: an update.
    Xu X, et al.

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