The Health Access Coalition works to advance the well-being of North Carolina families and to ensure that they have access to the health care they need.
The Affordable Care Act is a critical step forward for health care in North Carolina and throughout the nation. Unfortunately, our state lawmakers chose not to expand Medicaid, a decision that harms both health outcomes and the economy in North Carolina. To promote public understanding and support for expanding Medicaid to include the nearly 500,000 people who would be eligible but are now without coverage, our Health Access Coalition staff took to the road in 2013 with our pro-Medicaid expansion, pro-health reform message. We spoke at 86 meetings all over North Carolina, reaching over 17,000 people. Across the state, people attending these events expressed their shock when HAC explained that because
of the action of state policymakers, some people in the room wouldn’t be getting health coverage under the Affordable Care Act because they were too poor.
The Justice Center also worked throughout 2013 with Enroll America, Legal Aid of NC, NC Community Health Center Association, Care Share Alliance and many other allies to help ensure that North Carolinians who could get coverage through the ACA benefit exchange—and tax credits to make that coverage affordable—enrolled. North Carolina has the 5th highest ACA enrollment in the country—an outcome that our work helped bring about along with our great state and community partners.
We also worked in 2013 to protect the state’s existing Medicaid program and the critical health care it provides to thousands of our neighbors. This work included pushing back against negative messaging that “Medicaid is broken,” providing data and analysis that effectively debunked this myth in communities and with reporters. In June, we held a “Crucial Conversation” event with one of the nation’s most knowledgeable experts on health care policy, Ron Pollack, Executive Director of the Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, Families USA. As Pollack said, “Hardly a day goes by of late in which some politician doesn’t allege that Medicaid, North Carolina’s health care program for poor people, is ‘broken.’ Yet despite its many imperfections, North Carolina Medicaid remains a model for the nation.”
Finally, we rallied public support to block one particularly pernicious cut: the NC Senate passed a budget that slashed Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women. Justice Center staff worked extensively to educate NC policymakers about the longstanding bipartisan support for providing essential health care for pregnant women, the numbers of women affected, and the broad health benefits that result from extensively available prenatal care. Because of our work, this disastrous cut was not made.
Annual Reports on Health Access