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New study shows Missouri's rural seniors hit hardest by healthcare overhaul

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(07/10/2017) According to a new study, the percentage of elderly rural Missourians who are dependent on Medicaid is twice that of urban elderly residents.

Georgetown University's Rural Health Policy Project  are behind the study, titled "Medicaid's Role for Seniors Living in Small Towns and Rural Areas." It reveals 18 percent of senior citizens in rural areas are on the federal  health program as opposed to nine percent in urban areas.

Since nearly one-in-five rural seniors in Missouri depend on the federal program, they'll be disproportionately impacted by healthcare overhaul legislation in Congress. Currently, there are two bills - one that passed the House and one that's stalled in the Senate.

Medicaid is the largest source of federal funding for all states. The program accounts for nearly a third of the state's $27.7 billion budget.

Cutting down rates to providers could negatively affect small towns and rural areas where hospitals are strapped for cash.  According to the study, Missouri is one of seven states where Medicaid is disproportionately important to seniors living in rural areas. The other states are South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Maine and Arizona.  

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