Medicaid Expansion Alters Economic Geography in Texarkana

For low-income people living in Texarkana, moving across town can mean access to government medical benefits, according to The New York Times.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act originally required states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover those earning as much as 138 percent of the federal poverty level. However, the 2012 Supreme Court ruling on the healthcare reform law made Medicaid expansion optional. As of March 26, 26 states and the District of Columbia had chosen to implement expansion in 2014. Five states are still openly debating the issues, while 19 states had decided not to move forward with expansion.

Arkansas is one of the states that accepted the Medicaid expansion, while Texas did not. Therefore, many low-income people in the Arkansas half of Texarkana now have access to Medicaid, and those on the Texas side do not.

Very few of the low-income people living in Texarkana realized moving across town could mean access to medical benefits, and researchers do not expect many people to move across state lines to receive the benefits.

Many of the low-income individuals have budgetary restraints that prevent them from moving and many have expressed concern about moving across state lines because they are uncertain they will receive the benefits after they have relocated, according to the report.  

With the majority of the low-income population staying in their current state, many of those in Arkansas will receive thousands of dollars in medical benefits, while those in Texas will not.

More Articles on Medicaid Expansion:

5 Things to Know About the Impact of Medicaid Expansion
More Than 1.7M People Await Medicaid Decisions 
HHS Reports Continued Medicaid Enrollment Growth: 5 Key Findings 

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