THE CARE PACKAGE: Medicaid Expansion

August 31, 2012

Nicole's Notes

This summer across the country, Americans celebrated the anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid (July 30th) and Social Security (August 14th). These vital public programs have not only enhanced the quality of life of millions of retirees but also the lives of their family members who have more peace of mind and financial security because of these benefits and services. When parents and other beloved older family members have one or more of these programs, family members can continue to work and thereby help fund these programs for future generations.

We are also celebrating how the Affordable Care Act is strengthening these programs, which are so crucial to seniors and to those living with disabilities. As advocates, we are against any cuts or watering down of benefits and services and are supportive of Medicaid expansion to 488,867 of North Carolina’s working adults with low incomes. Next year, North Carolina lawmakers will decide whether all adults ages 18 to 64 with annual incomes of less than $15,000 per year will have access to quality, affordable health care through Medicaid. See the calendar for information about an event to learn more.

The Affordable Care Act has already increased access to care for people with pre-existing conditions and for adults under age 26 whose parents have health insurance. It also provides free screenings for seniors and women, tax credits for families and businesses for the purchase of quality and affordable coverage, and many more benefits.

We cannot make strides toward access to quality, affordable health care for all if we leave nearly a half a million neighbors behind.

Calendar

  • HEALTH CARE MEETING - Monday, September 17

Sponsored by the NC Justice Center and the NC Council of Churches with community partner Martin Street Baptist Church, Raleigh.

As part of the implementation of President Obama’s health care law, North Carolina lawmakers will decide whether to expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults ages 18 to 64 who have annual incomes of less than $15,000 per year. Attend this meeting and join the conversation.

We will discuss the current benefits of the health care law, how access to health care can be improved by expanding Medicaid to cover working adults with lower incomes, and what’s at stake if we don’t. We also want to learn from you. Come and tell us your suggestions about how to improve the experience of receiving care.

The event will be held on Monday, September 17, 2012 from 6:30p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Martin Street Baptist Church, 1001 East Martin Street in Raleigh. Reserve your seat today with Pamela Sessoms at the church at (919) 833-9756 or martinstbaptist@nc.rr.com, or Nicole Dozier of the NC Justice Center at (919) 856-2146 or Nicole@ncjustice.org.

  • NC CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER CARE BRUNCH IN HUNTERSVILLE - Thursday, September 27

Join the NC Justice Center and AARP NC on Thursday, September 27 for the next Campaign for Better Care community meeting and make your voice heard on one of the most important, complex issues in North Carolina today.

The Campaign for Better Care aims to make improvements in the health system for vulnerable older adults and to build a strong, lasting consumer voice for better health care. Come and share your experiences about what you think needs to be changed in our health system, and take advantage of the expertise offered from the AARP and the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) and others.

The event will be held on Thursday, September 27 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the North Mecklenburg Senior Center, 16601 Old Statesville Rd in Huntersville. Space is limited. To reserve your seat, contact the Senior Center at 704-875-1270 or northmeckdirector@cmseniorcenters.org, or Nicole Dozier at 919-856-2146 or Nicole@ncjustice.org.

If you are interested in hosting a NC Campaign for Better Care event, contact me at 919-856-2146 or Nicole@ncjustice.org.

Keeping You Posted

"New Report: NC’s Medicaid expansion pays for itself, extends coverage," by Adam Searing
Published August 21, 2012, Progressive Pulse

Our friends here at the NC Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center released a report detailing the numbers behind what happens in our state when we expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to the positive effects I’ve detailed before, the BTC report finds the following:

  • 95 percent of people gaining coverage under the expansion will have been previously uninsured.
  • NC will spend just 2 percent more on Medicaid in 2014 for the expansion than was budgeted for the current program this year because the federal government is paying most of the expansion costs.
  • NC state and local governments pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year to help hospitals, health departments and community clinics care for all the people walking in their doors who don’t have health insurance.
  • Since most currently uninsured people coming in for care will now be covered, state and local governments will save between $1 billion and $2 billion over six years, easily outpacing the extra costs NC will incur in the Medicaid program.

Resource Spotlight

National Senior Citizens Law Center
www.nsclc.org
Provides tools to assist local advocates in protecting the rights of older adults with low incomes

Medicare – Public Website
www.medicare.gov
Phone: 1(800)MEDICARE
Provides enrollment and related information, comparison tools and other resources

We have created extensive lists for the resources available in various communities in North Carolina. So far, we have lists for the following:

Stay tuned for resources lists for more communities throughout the year.

First Person

We are hopeful that together we can build a strong and lasting consumer voice for better care. Please see this short video of Congressman David Price speaking to the NC Alliance for Retired Americans in July. If you would like to share your story please contact Nicole Dozier at nicole@ncjustice.org

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