Recently, the North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) wrote an article for WRAL arguing for the expansion of Medicaid.
Why is Medicaid expansion important for North Carolinians? Will it make a difference for those in the state? The short answer is yes.
In a 2021 poll administered by Altarum, they found that more than 3 in 5 North Carolina residents have not been able to afford their healthcare and more than 3 in 4 are worried about not being able to afford their healthcare in the future.
In a recent survey conducted by the North Carolina Justice Center, they reported the uninsured rate among White North Carolinians to be 9.6%, 11% for Black state residents, and 30.3% for Latinx state residents.
Even though there is a great disparity between race and ethnicity, there is also a greater disparity to consider in North Carolina between rural and urban counties. A research analysis posted in the North Carolina Medical Journal states there to be as many as 20 of 22 rural counties to have the highest uninsured rates.
However, if Medicaid expansion was approved by the General Assembly this could drastically improve healthcare for all in the state.
Right now, North Carolina is one of a few states that have yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Once the Medicaid Expansion and Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program (HASP) is passed by the General Assembly, healthcare coverage would be given to anyone in North Carolina making less than 138% of the federal poverty level (which is roughly about $17,609 per year in 2020).
In a review of more than 400 studies directed by the Kaiser Family Foundation, they illustrate that expanding Medicaid coverage is connected to greater financial stability and security, and healthier outcomes. This will overall positively impact economic growth and healthcare in a state. By expanding Medicaid, all North Carolinians will have greater access to care, have reduced medical debt, have the ability to frequently receive healthcare, and be able to afford their visits.
In order for all North Carolina residents and counties to strive and thrive, Medicaid expansion needs to happen.