If you’re curious about healthcare in Tennessee’s rural communities, Fred Ralston, M.D., is the man to ask. Raised in Fayetteville, Dr. Ralston left to study political science at Yale University before he returned home to earn his medical degree at the University of Tennessee.
Dr. Ralston recently sat down with TRF to discuss the state of healthcare in rural Tennessee, and the positive impact expanding access to coverage for the state’s working poor would have on communities like Fayetteville.
In a new video, Dr. Ralston explains that people tend to “live sicker and die younger when they don’t have health insurance.” Unfortunately for many Tennesseans, health insurance isn’t a choice. More than 400,000 Tennesseans fall into what is known as the “Medicaid Gap,” where they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford insurance on the exchanges.
Dr. Ralston points out that Tennesseans in the Medicaid gap are “very similar to average Tennesseans, they just happen to be in a job where they don’t have health insurance.”
He sees expanding coverage as helpful not just to those in the Medicaid gap, but also to entire communities, noting “if you live in a small community you could lose your hospital if we don’t expand coverage.”
Watch Dr. Ralston’s full video below: