MEDIA RELEASE: Groups Say Medicaid Expansion Means Jobs, Coverage, Lower Premiums

RALEIGH (January 31, 2013) – North Carolina Senate leaders declared yesterday and passed a bill out of committee this morning saying that North Carolina must reject federal grant money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This expansion is 100 percent paid for by federal money over the next three years under the Affordable Care Act, and never less than 90 percent thereafter.

By expanding Medicaid, North Carolina will leverage at least $15 billion in federal funds over the next decade. In addition, the expansion will save thousands of jobs for North Carolina health care workers and rural hospitals as hospitals and providers absorb previously scheduled funding cuts.

“Extending eligibility for Medicaid will not only insure 500,000 North Carolinians but also create jobs in the most rural areas of our state,” said Adam Searing, director of the North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition. “Medicaid coverage will turn uninsured people walking into emergency rooms seeking care from overburdened hospitals into patients with health coverage who are seen at health clinics before minor problems become serious.”

Medicaid expansion saves money for all North Carolinians who buy health insurance. The American Academy of Actuaries estimates that premiums for private insurance will be at least 2 percent higher in states that do not expand Medicaid, due to cost shifts and unhealthier people buying subsidized insurance. Because the Medicaid expansion is paid for three years entirely by the federal government, this expansion can be enacted at no cost to the current state budget.

If North Carolina chooses not to expand Medicaid using 100 percent federal money, that federal funding – already appropriated by the Affordable Care Act – simply goes to other states like Arizona and New York that are expanding their Medicaid programs to enable them to be more efficient and effective.

The following groups urge the North Carolina House and Governor McCrory to look at the positive effect of Medicaid expansion on North Carolina communities, and not follow the North Carolina Senate in its intention to reject billions of health care dollars that are badly needed in our state.

  • AARP NC
  • Action for Children North Carolina
  • Action NC
  • American Heart Association
  • American Stroke Association
  • Covenant with North Carolina’s Children
  • Health Care for All NC
  • Hemophilia of North Carolina
  • Legal Services of Southern Piedmont
  • N.C. Public Health Association
  • National Health Law Program
  • National MS Society, NC Chapters
  • North Carolina AIDS Action Network
  • North Carolina Council of Churches
  • North Carolina Justice Center
  • North Carolina Small Business Progress
  • North Carolina State AFL-CIO

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Madison Hardee, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, madisonh@lssp.org; Adam Searing, NC Justice Center, adam@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2568; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (cell).

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