Medicaid and Community Health Centers: The Relationship Between Coverage for Adults and Primary Care Capacity in Medically Underserved Communities
Community health centers play an important role in providing care to uninsured and low-income individuals living in medically underserved communities. They rely on many different revenue sources and, over time, Medicaid has become a central source of funding for most health centers. To better understand how Medicaid influences health center practice, this paper compares the strength of health centers in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage for adults to health centers states with more limited Medicaid coverage for adults. In sum, broader Medicaid eligibility for adults appears to be associated with an enhanced ability of health centers to invest in capacity-building activities to meet the needs of patients and communities. Differences between the two groups of health centers help shed light on the implications of broader Medicaid coverage for low-income populations on the overall strength of health care safety net.