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Republicans Play Politics, Keep Healthcare Out of Reach for North Carolinians

Republican lawmakers made politically-motivated decisions that put healthcare out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

North Carolina is one of the most expensive states for healthcare; around half a million North Carolinians do not have access to health insurance because Republican lawmakers decided to play politics with people’s lives.  

Republicans refused to expand Medicaid coverage. This politically motivated decision priced out many people in North Carolina’s insurance market who could have been covered under Medicaid but now have to purchase insurance that many cannot afford.

  • North Carolina is ranked 47th in the nation for Health Care across the metrics of cost, accessibility, and outcome.
  • More than 600,000 working people fall in the health care coverage gap. Expanding Medicaid would ease the burden on rural hospitals, create 40,000 jobs, save lives, and connect people with quality mental health care.
  • Expanding Medicaid would help cover those who make just a little too much to be eligible for Medicaid but still can’t afford to pay for health care.
    • Closing the coverage gap would inject $4 billion in our economy at no additional cost to the state. By not expanding Medicaid, Republicans forfeited that $4 billion, around $10.6 million a day.
  • The cost for the expansion would be covered by hospitals and health care systems and by the federal government.

Republican lawmakers voted against Medicaid expansion that would have covered over 500,000 low-income North Carolinians and would have been funded by federal money for three years.

  • Republicans’ decision not to expand Medicaid made healthcare more expensive for all ACA customers across the state.
  • This decision cost the state $15 billion in new economic activity and at least 25,000 jobs for North Carolinians.
  • Refusal to expand Medicaid cost the state anywhere from 455 to 1,000 lives each year.
  • Republicans don’t want to talk about how they refuse to expand Medicaid to cover 600,000 North Carolinians, or how they took bad votes to push junk insurance that would undermine protections for preexisting conditions.
  • The opioid crisis is hitting North Carolina particularly hard. Expanding Medicaid is a powerful tool to help uninsured parents who need treatment so they can keep their families together. 

Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid continues to hurt our rural communities and drive the wedge between urban areas and rural areas even deeper. Four rural hospitals have closed in North Carolina since Republicans took over the General Assembly in 2010. Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid hurts real people across rural North Carolina.

  • Rural communities in states that have not expanded Medicaid have a significantly higher uninsured rate (15 percent) than urban communities (11 percent), while rural communities in states that have expanded Medicaid have a lower uninsured rate (9 percent) than urban communities.
  • Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural Americans, 45 percent of rural children, 15 percent of rural seniors, and pays for 51 percent of rural births.
  • Rural hospitals are closing at alarming rates across the nation and about two thirds of closures are occurring in sates that did not expand Medicaid. North Carolina has lost four rural hospitals since Republicans took control of the legislature in 2010. Some large rural areas of the state have only one hospital system, which drives up costs further. Rural hospitals in states that did expand Medicaid generally operate better than states that do not.

Republicans show over and over that the only thing they care about is facing voters in November. Instead of playing election year politics, we should take real steps to improve access and care for people across North Carolina by expanding Medicaid.