News & Record: Medicaid expansion should be in budget
By Denise Baker
July 2, 2019
As many as 626,000 North Carolinians with incomes below 133% of the poverty level might qualify for Medicaid.
The federal government would fund 90% of the cost by giving the state $36.1 billion over the next decade. Our fellow citizens and our economy would both benefit from Medicaid expansion.
The only question is why Republicans are so opposed to extending health care to the poorest North Carolinians. Senate leader Phil Berger says he's afraid the federal government will renege on its promise to fund Medicaid. However, like Social Security and Medicare, the federal funding for Medicaid expansion will continue unless Congress repeals the program or changes the funding formula.
Meanwhile, 37 other states have expanded Medicaid and dramatically improved both medical coverage and their economies.
Read the full editorial HERE
Salisbury Post: Editorial: In Medicaid expansion, both sides must negotiate in good faith
By Post Opinion
July 3, 2019
And in a growing state with a healthy economy, there's no need to choose between one or the other - schools or health care. That's particularly true because the federal government would pay 90 percent of the costs for Medicaid expansion - billions of dollars.
A deal where the federal government commits to foot the bill for an overwhelming majority of the costs for hundreds of thousands of people to get covered is hard to pass up. The expansion would raise income criteria to 138% of the poverty line, or $29,400 for a family of three. And with insurance coverage, North Carolinians suddenly have the ability to seek preventative care instead of only seeking treatment when a condition reaches a critical point. Hospitals would have an avenue through which to seek payment for patients who make the tough choice to seek care at an emergency room without a means to pay.
Studies also have repeatedly shown that new jobs would be created as a result of expansion, most of which would be in health care. The latest example is a June 2019 study by George Washington University that estimated 24,000 jobs would be created in 2020, with that number increasing to 37,200 by 2022. Almost half of the job growth would be in the some of the state's largest counties, the study found.
As other red states have expanded Medicaid under Democratic and Republican governors, North Carolina has avoided following suit. If legislators are to, as Berger committed to at the start of the session, find common ground on the shared goal of helping North Carolina prosper, Republicans and Democrats should take Cooper's veto as a charge to begin discussions in good faith and willing to settle for a good instead of perfect.
North Carolina prospers when more of its citizens have health insurance coverage.
Read the full editorial HERE
Fayetteville Observer: Our View: It's past time to expand Medicaid - lives are at stake
By Fayetteville Observer
July 1, 2019
Sometimes politicians have a chance to save lives.
With 100 percent certainty, increasing by hundreds of thousands the number of North Carolinians who have access to health insurance will save lives. Logic and common sense tell us so.
The General Assembly should expand Medicaid. This one is not hard.
But one thing's for sure: Our state has lost years ignoring and then dallying around with this issue.
Under the expansion, which started rolling out in 2014, the federal government provides 90 percent of the funding with the state providing the rest. In North Carolina, as many as 500,000 people would be newly eligible for coverage, according to projections. Expansion would also be a lifeline for rural hospitals that rely on Medicaid funding and are in many cases struggling to keep the doors open for their underserved populations. Expansion would create thousands of jobs as well.
There were never solid reasons beyond political to oppose expansion in the first place.
It's time for North Carolina to break away from the pack and do the right thing for our people, and save lives.
Read the full opinion HERE
Carolina Public Press: Medicaid key issue as budget impasse puts NC spending on autopilot
By Kirk Ross
July 1, 2019
Speaking at the Executive Mansion surrounded by legislators, teachers and health care advocates, Cooper said he will continue to emphasize that Medicaid expansion should be on the table as the two sides work out a final deal.
North Carolina is one of 14 states that has not expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. An updated analysis by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Cone Health Foundation released last week found that about 634,000 would be added to the program by 2022 under expansion and add 37,200 new jobs.
The state would see a $4.7 billion increase in federal spending, and state and county tax revenue would grow by $500 million and $100 million, respectively.
Read the full story HERE
Winston-Salem Journal: New report says 634,000 more North Carolinians would get health-care coverage under Medicaid expansion
By Richard Craver
June 26, 2019
About 634,000 North Carolina residents would gain health-care coverage over the next three years if the state expands access to Medicaid, a new report released today says.
The report, paid for by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and the Cone Health Foundation and done by George Washington University researchers, comes as the state's lawmakers debate expansion of the state's Medicaid program.
According to the report, if Medicaid were expanded as early as November 2019, 464,000 North Carolinians would gain coverage by the end of 2020; by the end of 2022, that number would increase to 634,000.
Medicaid already serves 2.14 million North Carolinians, representing about 21% of the state population. Another 1.6 million will be enrolled in Medicaid through a new managed-care program that is projected to be rolled out in the state between November and February.
The report determined that expanding Medicaid would create more than 37,000 jobs, including 20,600 in the health-care sector, by the end of 2022, as well as bring in an additional $11.7 billion in federal Medicaid funding from 2020 to 2022.
"Every community stands to benefit from Medicaid expansion," said Dr. Laura Gerald, the president of Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. "The evidence shows that closing the Medicaid gap will improve population health, support vulnerable North Carolina families and boost the economy across the major sectors."
Cooper's budget plan recommends expanding Medicaid "to bring $4 billion into North Carolina's economy, create an estimated 40,000 jobs and provide more affordable health care for 500,000 people," according to his office.
"Medicaid expansion is a job creator and can extend health coverage to thousands of previously uninsured North Carolinians who are falling through the gaps in our current system," Shumaker said.
"States that have already expanded Medicaid are better equipped to tackle critical health-care concerns, like opioid addiction and infant mortality rates, issues that need to be addressed here at home in North Carolina."
Lawmakers are also at odds over whether North Carolina is missing out of additional federal Medicaid money by not expanding its program.
The report determined that "through their federal tax dollars, North Carolinians are already paying for Medicaid expansion - in other states, like neighbors West Virginia and Kentucky, both of which have significantly lower amounts of uninsured residents."
GOP legislative leaders, led by Berger, have chosen not to take up two Democratic-sponsored bills that would expand Medicaid, nor the Republican option introduced April 9 by state Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, that has bipartisan support.
Read the full story HERE