District 24, Senator John Stevens, consists of Benton, Carroll, Gibson, Henry, Obion, and Weakley Counties. How will these counties fare if Governor Haslam does not submit a federally acceptable Tennessee Plan for Medicaid Expansion?
These counties all have double digit unemployment rates. Benton and Henry Counties, at 10.20%, have the best rates. Carroll is 10.90%, Gibson 11.60%, Weakley 11.80%, and Obion 13.30%. Their poverty rates are worse yet. Henry County is best at 16%. Gibson follows at 17.10%, then Obion at 19.20%, Weakley at 21.70%, Benton at 23.10%, and Carroll at 23.50%.
Median family incomes in these counties range between Weakley at $33,932 and Obion at $39,671. For comparison, 135% of the annual federal poverty level is $31,792.50 for a family of four and $37,219.50 for a family of five. This means that many people in all these counties will fall into the coverage gap between 100% poverty and 138% poverty if Tennessee does not develop some kind of Medicaid Expansion plan.
9% of Benton County residents are veterans, with 12% in Carroll, 13% in Gibson, 9% in Henry, 11% in Obion, and 12% in Weakley. There are no Veterans Administration facilities anywhere within this Senate District.
The hospitals in Benton, Obion, and Weakley Counties are not at risk of closing because of the changes in federal payment for indigent care, nor is Milan General Hospital in Gibson County. All five of the others in this Senate District are. The endangered hospitals are Baptist Memorial – Huntingdon, Carroll, 157 employees, McKenzie Regional Hospital, Carroll, 121 employees, Gibson General Hospital, Gibson, 69 employees, Humboldt Hospital, Gibson, 81 employees, and Henry County Medical Center, 515 employees.
All counties have more than 20% of citizens 18 and under. Given their poverty rates and median family incomes, young people in this area are at risk.
Concerned District 24 citizens can contact Senator John Stevens at 615-741-4576.