By Rebecca Cerese, NC POLICY WATCH
In the aftermath of the recent overwhelming vote by the North Carolina Senate to make North Carolina the 39th state to expand Medicaid, average North Carolinians have been speaking up all across the state to express their approval and thanks for what is a long overdue and quite possibly life saving action.
Below are just a few of the representative expressions of approval and gratitude we’ve received at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project:
Thank you, Senator Chuck Edwards, for supporting legislation to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. Following a stroke, my friend, eventually lost her job as a paralegal during her lengthy recovery. She could not get coverage under Obamacare because she made too little to get a subsidy and did not qualify for Medicaid. She fell into the Coverage Gap.
This year, North Carolina can help 600,000 North Carolinians who find themselves in the Gap get the health insurance they need. Thirty-eight states have already expanded Medicaid, including Republican-led states like Ohio and Oklahoma. By doing so, these states have been able to stabilize their private health insurance costs and lower healthcare costs for everyone. Health insurance benefits people of all ages.
Pregnant women who get regular prenatal care have less pregnancy-related complications, less infant and maternal mortality, and higher birth weights for their babies, especially in families who are Black or Brown. Their children get a better start in life. Insurance coverage for small business owners and their employees makes for healthier staff and less time out of work. Medicaid Expansion decreases premature death for older adults aged 55-64, through early detection and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Congress is offering NC nearly $2 billion incentive to expand Medicaid.
We cannot wait any longer. Join me in urging NC House of Representatives to follow the NC Senate’s lead to pass Medicaid Expansion and support an end to our state’s coverage gap once and for all.
I commend the NC Senate for passing Medicaid expansion after all these years. Now it is up to the NC House to take advantage of this unique opportunity to expand Medicaid which would strengthen rural hospitals, give over 600,000 North Carolinians health coverage and pull in $1.7 Billion dollars in federal funds.
As a health care provider I have personally known of two situations in which my patients were unable to afford their chronic disease medications. They subsequently experienced heart attacks; these could have been prevented. It is proven from other states’ experiences that Medicaid Expansion leads to decreases in premature deaths for those aged 55-64 and increases in prescriptions for heart disease, diabetes, mental health conditions and other chronic conditions. In the wake of our COVID losses we need more than ever to enable our citizens to be healthy and productive.
Expanding Medicaid can also reduce uncompensated care costs for our local hospitals. We need to do everything we can to keep their doors open. I implore our House Speaker Tim Moore to follow Senate President Phil Berger’s lead and bring Medicaid expansion to the floor for a vote. We can only gain from closing our state’s coverage gap.
As a recently retired data analyst, right now the numbers look right to implement an expansion of Medicaid insurance.
1) There is a temporary incentive of $1.5 billion in federal funds for signing up now, so let’s get it done during this legislative session. 2) 38 states have already expanded Medicaid. It has worked in other Republican-led States (such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Indiana) and helped them reduce overall healthcare costs to the state. 3) In a Strategic Partners Solutions live interview survey of 600 registered Republican voters in October 2021, once GOP voters were informed that only legal residents could apply, 74.7% favored Medicaid Expansion while only 12.7% were opposed.
I commend the NC Senate for passing Medicaid expansion, and I urge the NC House to do the same despite the contraindicated work requirements. With so many Republicans in favor and with so much at stake, North Carolina has so much to gain from closing our state’s coverage gap.
Thank you, Republican Senate leader Phil Berger, for changing your stance and supporting the expansion of Medicare. He made a strong case when he said, “First, we need coverage in North Carolina for the working poor. Second, there is no fiscal risk to the state budget moving forward with this proposal.”
Thank you, Forsyth County Republican Rep. Donny Lambeth, for being a champion for Medicaid expansion for years.
Tim Moore, Republican House Speaker, the time is now for everyone in State leadership to come together and ensure all North Carolinians regardless of age, race, gender, or socio-economic status have access to healthcare services. Join your republican colleagues in supporting a Medicaid expansion bill which would give more than 500,000 low-income adults health insurance. Medicaid expansion saves lives. It’s that simple.
As a Forsyth County resident, I was pleased that Rep. Donny Lambeth and Senator Joyce Krawiec led a joint committee to study Access to Healthcare and Medicaid Expansion. Many thanks to Rep. Lambeth for being a long-time champion to finding a North Carolina solution to closing North Carolina’s health insurance coverage gap. I am confident that Lambeth’s work over the last several years is one of the many reasons the NC Senate, with leadership from Senator Krawiec, has passed legislation that expands Medicaid.
Over the years of the expansion debate, North Carolinians have died because they can’t get health care to treat heart disease, diabetes, and cancer! And NOW, the NC House has in its power to save lives. Over 600,000 North Carolinians can gain health care coverage with the passage of HB 149, Rep. Lambeth, please urge your colleagues and especially Speaker Moore to pass HB 149. Your constituents are waiting, and their lives are on the line.
Thank you, Senator Phil Berger and the NC Senate, for putting forth and passing Medicaid Expansion. Medicaid expansion which would strengthen rural hospitals, give 600,000 North Carolinians health coverage, and draw down nearly $2 Billion dollars in additional federal funds for NC. As a former healthcare worker and proud resident of Stokesdale, I’m concerned for my uninsured neighbors, friends, & family struggling with medical bills as well as avoiding medical care. Many of their struggles have led to overwhelming medical debt, making tough financial choices, or being unable to get any healthcare at all.
Medicaid expansion would help keep local hospitals like Annie Penn Hospital in Reidsville open, not only as a healthcare institution but also as a source of local jobs. It would also benefit our local veterans. Lastly, according to the National Health Law Program, Medicaid expansion would help our small businesses as well as self-employed people stay healthy and able to provide for their families. I am calling on Rep Reece Pyrtle and other members of the NC House to support and pass this North Carolina solution to close our state’s coverage gap once and for all.
Rebecca Cerese is a Policy Advocate at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project.