North Carolina Lawmakers Eye Path to Long-Awaited Medicaid Expansion
On Friday, a newly formed committee met to discuss Medicaid expansion amid nursing shortages and struggling rural hospitals around the state.
The new panel of state lawmakers studying the potential for an expansion of health care access to the more than 500,000 North Carolinians who don’t have health insurance comes after decades of stalemates surrounding the issue.
- Since 2013, the expanded Medicaid program has been available to states, with the federal government agreeing to pick up 90 percent of the price tag. On top of that, the Biden Administration has offered states who have yet to consider the coverage with additional federal funding to ease costs.
- Yet, 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 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.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of denying North Carolinians access to quality care and underfunding of our rural hospitals, primarily in districts represented by Republicans, cannot be ignored.
In the coming months, our lawmakers have the opportunity to examine the health care gaps across the state and rightfully consider protecting uninsured North Carolinians from financial hardship.