August 1, 2019/Media

ICYMI: 17 Rural Hospital Closures in Texas and Counting Due to Republican Refusal to Expand Medicaid

 

Another 16 Rural Hospitals in Texas in Danger of Closing

 

Austin, TX — Earlier this week, a devastating report from the Austin-American Statesman showed the debilitating effects of rural hospitals closing across the state of Texas. Already, 17 rural hospitals have closed in Texas and another 16 remain vulnerable to closure without the expansion of Medicaid.

Texas currently ranks dead last in healthcare coverage and has the highest amount of uninsured children in the country. Expanding Medicaid would keep these hospitals open, and ensure that an estimated 1.1 million more low-income Texans are eligible for healthcare coverage.

 

More from the Austin-American Statesman: 

  • “Since 2010, 17 of the nation’s 100-plus rural hospital closures — which include facilities that have stopped offering short-term, acute inpatient care — have occurred in Texas, with little sign that the number is leveling off. The hospital in Chillicothe, about 65 miles northwest of Wichita Falls, closed Monday, and the hospital in Hamlin, about 40 miles northwest of Abilene, is expected to close Thursday. About 16 other rural hospitals in Texas are at risk of closing because of financial difficulties, according to University of North Carolina researchers.”

  • “Following trends seen across the nation, Texas’ rural hospitals struggle financially because of low Medicaid and Medicare payments from the state and federal governments”

  • “Research also has shown that states that haven’t expanded Medicaid have higher numbers of rural hospital closures. Advocacy groups, hospital operators and some local officials are convinced that if the state expanded Medicaid, something Texas’ Republican leaders have been loath to do, more rural residents would be insured, lifting some of the financial burden from hospitals, which lose millions of dollars each year in uncompensated care.”

  • “I would say do it. Why wouldn’t you?” Milam County Judge Steve Young, a Republican, said about expanding Medicaid. “For the time being that we can get it, maybe we can have a hospital here.”

  • “Texas is one of 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid, which insures low-income people as well as people with severe disabilities or near-death illnesses, children from low-income families, seniors and pregnant women. Expansion of the federal and state-subsidized health insurance program could cover 686,000 Texans who make too much to currently qualify for Medicaid yet earn too little to qualify for tax credits to purchase Obamacare through healthcare.gov, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a policy research organization.”

  • “Expanding Medicaid coverage also could make an additional 439,000 Texans eligible for Medicaid, those eligible for Obamacare but just above the federal poverty level.”

  • “Having more insured patients would have meant better payments to the hospitals.”

  • “The data is pretty overwhelming that states that took Medicaid expansion have experienced lower percentages of hospital closures because they have measurably reduced their uninsured population,” Nancy Dickey said.

Texas House Representative John Bucy III issued the following statement:

“Expanding Medicaid is something we can do right now that would fundamentally transform the lives of our fellow Texans and their families. It’s time to bring our tax dollars back to Texas, stop leaving billions of dollars in federal funding on the table, and ensure every person is able to access the healthcare they need.”

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