The health disparity between rural and urban communities across the United States is growing, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In North Carolina, this is made even worse by Republican lawmakers’ refusal to consider expanding Medicaid.
- About 40 percent of North Carolinians — approximately 4 million people — live in one of the state’s 80 rural counties with a population density of 250 people per square mile or less, according to the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
- Since the General Assembly first refused to expand Medicaid in 2010, several rural hospitals in our state have closed their doors — including one in Washington County earlier this year. Medicaid expansion will disproportionately benefit rural communities by improving health care access and building stronger local economies.
- Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would provide coverage to about 500,000 low-income people. Unfortunately, the General Assembly continues to reject federal funding to expand Medicaid, choosing politics over the health and the well-being of North Carolina families.
- Closing the Medicaid coverage gap will help rural communities stabilize local hospitals and health care providers, support their local workforce, and stabilize household budgets where health care costs can result in high debt.
Medicaid expansion will make health care more affordable for everyone by making sure more North Carolinians are covered by health insurance. Medicaid expansion is key to reducing health disparities in our rural communities.