NORTH CAROLINA, ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER STATE, has an unprecedented opportunity to expand health coverage to its most vulnerable residents. The federal government will fund more than 90 percent of this health insurance expansion. So far, legislators in North Carolina, along with the Governor, have blocked these federal funds from expanding access to health care, boosting the state’s economy, and bolstering rural hospitals.
Ending this Medicaid blockade in North Carolina would extend insurance coverage to about 500,000 low-income people in the state. More than 300,000 of these people have no other insurance options available to them.
Ending the Medicaid blockade would:
- Create approximately 25,000 new jobs by 2016.
- Bring more than $2 billion in federal funds to the state every year.
- Save the state $65.4 million over the next 8 years.
The Medicaid blockade will exacerbate serious health conditions.
Refusing federal funds to cover more North Carolinians means:
- 27,044 diabetics not getting needed medications.
- 40,000 women not getting recommended preventive screenings.
- 14,776 more families receiving catastrophic medical bills.
- More than 1,000 unnecessary deaths.
The Medicaid blockade is putting significant strain on hospitals, especially in rural areas. In Georgia four hospitals have closed due to that state’s refusal to expand Medicaid4. In Virginia, one hospital has closed.
In North Carolina many hospitals are on life support, including Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven.
Tenet Healthcare, a company with hospitals across the nation, noted in its most recent earnings call that the company’s positive financial position is due to some states accepting federal money to increase access to Medicaid. Tenet reported that in expansion states Medicaid admissions grew by 17 percent while uninsured and charity care admissions declined by 33 percent.
Analysts with Wells Capital Management say that hospital bonds in states that expand Medicaid will be much more attractive than bonds in states that do not expand Medicaid.
There are many conservative states moving to expand Medicaid including: Arizona, Arkansas, North Dakota, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia.
Several local governments have urged state leaders to end the Medicaid blockade including: the City of Durham, City of Greensboro, City of Winston-Salem, Mecklenburg County, Orange County, and the Town of Chapel Hill.