19% of Early Childhood Educators in North Carolina Do Not Have Health Insurance
: Governor Roy Cooper listened to child care teachers at Small World Child Care in Goldsboro today about their concerns about access to healthcare. In a roundtable discussion, teachers shared that they and their colleagues struggle with preventable diseases because they do not have access to health insurance. They said that the stress impacts both their own wellbeing and the healthy development of young children in their care and urged lawmakers to expand Medicaid.
"The health of our child care teachers directly affects the quality of care they can give our children,"
said Governor Cooper. "Almost 20 % of our child care teachers are part of the more than half a million hard working North Carolinians who can't afford health insurance, and Medicaid expansion will help fix that."
Nineteen percent of early childhood educators in North Carolina do not have health insurance. A median hourly income of $9.86 coupled with the high cost of health care means that they are often unable to access the care they need. North Carolina has one of the highest rates of uninsured people.
"As a family owned business that has provided child care for over 40 years, we understand the need and importance of offering insurance. By supporting Medicaid expansion, all involved will benefit,"
said Mary Batts, owner of Small World Child Care.
Children do better when their caregivers are healthy, both emotionally and physically. Positive, nurturing interactions between young children and adults supports healthy brain development and future learning. When caregivers cannot access health insurance, the stress from untreated health conditions or unaffordable health costs can disrupt those critical caregiver-child interactions.
Closing the health insurance coverage gap for families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid remains a top priority for Gov. Cooper. Currently, a family of four with working parents must earn less than $9,000 to qualify for Medicaid. The same family's income would have to exceed $25,000 to qualify for a federal subsidy to purchase health insurance. That leaves many families who earn too much for Medicaid and too little for a subsidy without health insurance.
Early childhood education is a priority for Gov. Cooper. In February, he hosted a statewide Early Childhood Summit where he released the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. The plan provides a framework to galvanize action to achieve 10 measurable goals for young children that address health, safety, family resilience and learning outcomes.
Earlier this year, the NC Early Childhood Advisory Council urged the General Assembly to expand Medicaid. That letter can be read HERE
Gov. Cooper has been traveling the state hearing from North Carolinians about the urgency to expand Medicaid. In addition, he and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen have hosted numerous roundtables on the health coverage gap. Rural hospital CEOs, childcare directors and teachers, mental health providers, obstetricians and pediatricians, and families impacted by the opioid epidemic have all traveled to Raleigh from across North Carolina to urge lawmakers to close the health coverage gap.
Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would provide an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians with access to affordable health care. It would boost North Carolina's economy by $4 billion and create an estimated 40,000 jobs.
Since 2014, 37 states under bipartisan leadership, including the District of Columbia, have helped close the gap by expanding Medicaid so more people can access health coverage.
- Contact: Ford Porter