Vidant Health hosted a roundtable discussion on the challenges of rural health care and the need for Medicaid expansion with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and North Carolina Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy K. Cohen, along with other prominent leaders and elected representatives from the region.
There are currently more than one million people in North Carolina living without health insurance. This vulnerable population often times cannot afford preventative care, meaning they do not seek care until they are extremely ill, increasing the cost of care.
"Closing the health care coverage gap and providing health insurance for working people who can't afford it would strengthen our rural communities and hospitals by improving access to care and boosting local economies,"
said Governor Cooper. "Saying yes to expansion should be one of the easiest decisions a policymaker can make, and it's time to stand up for our rural communities."
According to the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University, expanding Medicaid for the state would result in more than $11 billion in additional federal funding from 2020-2022, with more than 600,000 North Carolinians becoming eligible for Medicaid coverage.
"It is imperative Medicaid expansion is a priority and becomes a reality in 2020,"
said Dr. Michael Waldrum, chief executive officer of Vidant Health. "Delivering health care in rural eastern North Carolina is already a challenge and expanding access to care is vital to the success of our mission. I appreciate the governor, the secretary and all of our community leaders being here today to discuss the importance of expansion for the East and the entire state."
Vidant continues to stand up for rural health care and is committed to advocating for policies improving access to care.
- Contact: Jason Lowry