Amid Medicaid’s 56th Anniversary, Red state Medicaid expansion momentum continues to grow

Amid Medicaid’s 56th Anniversary, Red state Medicaid expansion momentum continues to grow

This Friday, July 30, marks the 56th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing into law the amendment that created Medicare and Medicaid. For 56 years, Medicaid has helped make health care affordable and accessible for millions across the country. 

Despite the benefits, several states, including North Carolina, continue to halt the expansion of the health care program — leaving more than two million people across the United States without any options when it comes to health insurance.

  • Recently, voters in two Republican-led states — Oklahoma and Missouri — overwhelmingly approved of expanding Medicaid despite their GOP legislature’s efforts to block health care coverage.
  • Under Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore’s leadership, North Carolina remains one of few states that have not expanded its health care coverage — leaving more than 500,000 North Carolinians without affordable health care access and resulting in several rural hospital closures, the state losing out on billions of federal funding and  an ever-growing coverage gap.
  • In his latest budget proposal, Gov. Roy Cooper has continued his push for Republicans to expand Medicaid, stating, “Getting more health care coverage to people in North Carolina is certainly a priority. Medicaid expansion is the best way to do that”.
  • Yet despite Gov. Roy Cooper’s laying out the blueprint to address long-standing unmet needs, the state Senate laid out their continued effort in denying North Carolinians the resources they need through their latest budget

For North Carolina, its unyielding Senate Republican leadership has held off Medicaid expansion since it surfaced in 2012 as an option through the Affordable Care Act.

As we celebrate Medicaid’s 56th birthday this Friday, Republicans in the NC General Assembly have the opportunity to finally prioritize North Carolinians health care by closing the healthcare coverage gap and delivering affordable health care access to everyone across the state.

Bottom line: 

With a majority of North Carolinians supporting the expansion, there’s no better time than now to expand Medicaid and close the coverage gap. 

To ensure the recovery of our state and the wellbeing of North Carolinians, it’s time our lawmakers enact legislation aimed at protecting uninsured North Carolinians from financial hardship and having to make the difficult choice of paying for food or health care.

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Alanna Joyner

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