RALEIGH, NC – December 14, 2022 – The Affordable Care Act of 2010 expanded Medicaid eligibility in the U.S. by raising the qualifying threshold until the Supreme Court overruled the law in 2012. The Court ruled that each state has the right to decide to expand Medicaid not the federal government. At present, 11 states, including North Carolina, have not expanded Medicaid. The U.S. Congress has recently voted to defray each of the remaining state’s cost to expand Medicaid from 90% to 95% for the first 2 years of expansion. North Carolina state hospitals and health care systems have agreed to provide funds to cover most of the remaining cost.
One million people in North Carolina (almost 13% of the population) do not have health insurance. Expanding Medicaid will allow almost 600 thousand more North Carolinians to qualify. In a 2020 poll, 75% of North Carolinians want to expand Medicaid. However, the North Carolina state legislature had passed a law that disallows voter initiatives so that the only remaining pathway is through the state legislature. The Republican-dominated legislature has resisted any attempt to pass Medicaid expansion over the past decade until recently.
At the close of the 2022 state legislative session on December 13th, there were 2 Republican-sponsored bills to expand Medicaid. The Senate version includes eliminating the state’s certificate of need (CON) law and allows advanced practice registered nurses to provide patient care without physician supervision. The House version does not contain any other provisions.
The benefits of expanding Medicaid in North Carolina include:
- Keeping 600 hundred thousand newly insured healthier and living longer. Some examples are earlier cancer diagnosis, fewer cancer deaths, and better access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment
- Fewer personal financial hardship cases and bankruptcies
- A stronger economy by creating jobs, growing business activity and bringing in more revenue to the state
- An additional 1-2 billion dollars for the state over the first 2 years of the federal incentive funding
The health care of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians is being delayed due to Republican-led political gamesmanship. In 2023, look for the Republicans to offer Medicaid Expansion to obtain a favorable budget, eliminate the CON and/or allow advanced practice registered nurses to provide patient care without physician supervision.
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org