Map courtesy: Washington Post

The Washington Post reports that Southerners in states that have not expanded Medicaid have more medical debt and worse credit scores.  The result is that people across the South are having more trouble borrowing money and pay more on loans they do get.

Medical debt may not be the only force behind the South’s credit struggles, but it is a key contributor.  The South is less healthy than other regions.  Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows those in the South are substantially more likely to suffer from four or more chronic conditions.  Poor health goes hand in hand with over due medical debt and poor credit scores.

The study found that the trend doesn’t correlate with race or poverty, but is driven by medical debt.  The South is also home to the most states that have not expanded Medicaid.  North Carolina seems to be about to change that, with a compromise reached Thursday.

A recent analysis in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that medical debt “became more concentrated in lower-income communities in states that did not expand Medicaid” after key provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014.

To read the full article with more analysis click here.