Source: Editorial Staff
For thousands of North Carolinians, Medicaid expansion can’t come soon enough.
According to N.C. Health News, more than 68,400 North Carolinians have lost Medicaid since the state resumed terminations in June. Expanding Medicaid would automatically enroll over 300,000 North Carolinians who already receive family planning coverage through Medicaid.
However, the state is in limbo as Republican leaders drag their feet on passing a state budget.
Although Gov. Cooper signed a law in March that would provide Medicaid, state Republicans tied the implementation through the passage of a state budget.
Since then, House and Senate Republicans leaders have failed to enact a budget.
“It’s past time for Republican leaders to do their jobs, pass a budget and start Medicaid expansion now to give our rural areas resources to prevent hospital closures and combat the opioid crisis,” Gov. Cooper stated in a recent news release.
Earlier this month, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore shared to reporters that there’s “no chance” a budget will pass this month. According to N.C. Health News, both Gov. Cooper and Kody Kinsley, the secretary of Cooper’s Department of Health and Human Services, estimate that 9,000 more North Carolinians will be kicked off the rolls by the end of this month.
“I am rushing to schedule a surgery to get a defibrillator in my heart before I lose coverage at the end of the month,” Anthony Brooks, a 57-year-old Medicaid participant from Beaufort County, wrote in a letter to lawmakers. “If Medicaid expansion had already gone live, I would still be eligible to continue my coverage, and I wouldn’t be stressing and scrambling.”
“They are quite literally gambling with my life,” Brooks wrote. “With my complicated medical issues, the fact that I am looking at losing my health insurance could very literally be a death sentence for me.”
In total, more than 600,000 low-income North Carolinians would have access to health care coverage once Medicaid expansion goes into effect.