Health and Health Coverage in the South: A Data Update

by Anthony Damico; Samantha Artiga

Feb 1, 2016

With its recent adoption of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion to adults, Louisiana became the 32nd state to move forward with the expansion, and the 7th of the 17 states that make up the American South to expand. However, within the South, which has high rates of chronic disease and poor health outcomes, the majority of states still have not adopted the Medicaid expansion. The ACA and its Medicaid expansion offer important opportunities to expand access to health coverage, particularly in the South, where Medicaid and CHIP eligibility levels across groups have lagged behind other regions for many years.1 While many factors contribute to chronic disease and poor health outcomes, expanding health coverage can provide an important step in improving health by supporting individuals' ability to access preventive and primary care and ongoing treatment of health conditions. This brief provides key data on the South and the current status of health and health coverage in the South to provide greater insight into the health needs in the region and the potential coverage gains that may be achieved through the ACA. State specific data for the indicators presented in the brief are available in Tables 1 through 6.

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