Over half the Mississippians on Medicaid are children. They're also the cheapest to cover and a new study shows Medicaid serves as a lifeline for those families, especially in rural areas.
More than half of Mississippi's children in small towns and rural areas are covered by Medicaid.
Those numbers have gone up in recent years.
"It's what's typically known as the welcome mat effect," explained Roy Mitchell, Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director. "The fact that the ACA was rolled out and there was a lot of outreach around the ACA, families in rural areas were reached by feds and the state and health advocates."
This report by Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families shows the impact has been a 10 percent increase for children covered by Medicaid from 2008-2015.
There are currently 60 percent of children in those rural areas on the Medicaid rolls.
So what does that really mean for the kids and for you as the taxpayer?
"Children are getting preventive care," noted Mitchell. "They're less likely to have chronic disease. They're less likely to be a burden on the system when they get older. They're going to be healthy, independent and they're going to be able to get jobs. And there's study after study that proves that."
Health advocates point out that this happened despite Mississippi's decision to turn down Medicaid expansion.
"The increase in our Medicaid roles can largely be attributed to kids who didn't have coverage, getting coverage now," added Mitchell.
Right now, Mississippi gets match dollars from the federal government for Medicaid, but that could change to a block grant system. That would mean a set amount of money, no matter how many children or individuals are eligible.