Source: NC Policy Watch
After a decade of North Carolina Republicans’ delays and failures, the state House has given its final approval to expand Medicaid. In a 92-22 vote, North Carolina is one step closer to expanding critical healthcare coverage to more than 600,000 North Carolinians who need it.
According to the U.S. Census, North Carolina has a higher percentage of uninsured residents compared to the national average. Currently, the state remains one of 11 states that has not expanded Medicaid.
For years, healthcare providers, health advocates, state Democrats and Gov. Roy Cooper have advocated for the expansion of coverage made available under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Reporting by Cardinal & Pine revealed numerous studies have shown that Medicaid expansion has saved thousands of lives and has reduced rates of postpartum hospitalization, with already expanded states seeing nearly 12 fewer deaths per 100,000 adults each year.
Due to state Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid, North Carolinians across the state, especially in rural areas, were impacted by the inability to access affordable health care and medication.
In addition, several rural hospitals closed, and the state lost out on billions of federal funding that could have addressed the ever-growing coverage gap.
After numerous attempts, state Republicans finally showed interest in Medicaid expansion; initially passing two separate bills in the House and Senate that ultimately failed last year, however, its latest rendition is showing signs of success.
The bill will now go before the N.C. Senate, which may hit its first hurdle.
State Senate Republicans have expressed adding in provisions, including loosening “certificate of need” laws to offer medical equipment or add hospital beds, empowering advanced-practice nurses to treat patients without a doctor’s supervision, as well as others to boost the supply of medical services and providers, according to The Associated Press.
“I’m asking for you to support Medicaid expansion because it is a smart and necessary investment in our state,” stated Rep. Donny Lambeth, a Forsyth County Republican and the bill’s chief sponsor, during the bill’s debate. “Think about the people you represent who will actually benefit from this.”