NC JUSTICE NEWS: Medicaid Expansion + Pre-K Court Ruling + Deferred Action

August 21, 2012

MEDICAID: How expansion extends coverage, saves NC money

The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act will extend insurance coverage to more than half a million North Carolinians, while also saving the state and its taxpayers billions of dollars. By reducing the number of uninsured adults and children across the state, the expansion will pay for itself over time.

As a new report from the Budget and Tax Center points out, the first year of the Medicaid expansion alone is expected to reduce the number of uninsured North Carolinians by 64 percent. The first year of the expansion will require the state to spend 2 percent more on the Medicaid program than was budgeted for the current fiscal year (FY2012-13) in order to extend health insurance to nearly half a million North Carolinians. Fewer uninsured residents and an overall healthier population mean lower costs for government, which currently pays three-quarters of the cost of uncompensated medical care.

Cost savings from the reduction in uncompensated medical care in North Carolina is expected to reach between $1 and $2 billion from 2014-2019. As a result of the expansion, existing Medicaid payments that supported care for the uninsured can be reduced and there will be less need to shift the cost of uncompensated care to private insurers and health care providers.

Roughly 1 in 5 Americans are uninsured, resulting in a massive drain on the workforce and economy. By implementing the Medicaid expansion, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians will have better access to care and the state — along with its taxpayers — will save billions.

NC PRE-K: Court upholds decision in early childhood education ruling

This morning, the North Carolina Court of Appeals confirmed that North Carolina’s at-risk children have a right to a high-quality education.

Last summer, Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled that "The State of North Carolina shall not deny any eligible at-risk four year old admission to the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten Program (NCPK) and shall provide the quality services of the NCPK to any eligible at-risk four year old that applies." The Court's decision to uphold Judge Manning's ruling proves once again that these children deserve the quality services of our state’s early childhood education program — services that ensure at-risk students will be ready to excel when they approach the Kindergarten classroom door. Every child, regardless of his or her economic status, should be allowed that privilege.

Now it’s up to our state lawmakers to ensure that funds for early childhood programs are maintained and supported so that every child can have access to a high-quality education right from the start.

JOB DEFICIT: Jobless numbers up thanks to government layoffs

North Carolina's jobless rate went up in July — the first time it's done so in over a year — thanks in part to large-scale layoffs in the public sector.

The state's unemployment rate is now at 9.6%. Although North Carolina's private sector jobs grew by 16,000 in July, those gains were almost entirely negated by the 14,200 jobs lost by public sector employees working in local governments. Some changes in government employment is expected due to seasonal hiring patterns, however, the long-term trends of public sector layoffs suggest a troubling pattern.

There are already nearly three times the number of people looking for work than there are job openings, and these public sector layoffs not only serve to increase overall unemployment but also hold back private sector job growth. Newly unemployed public sector workers no longer have funds to spend at private businesses, leaving those businesses with less money to hire new employees.

DEFERRED ACTION: New information for immigrant youth

On June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it will not deport young people from the U.S. who meet certain requirements. Those who qualify will be given “deferred action” and will be eligible for work authorization.

The North Carolina Justice Center's Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project has created a series of fact sheets and resources addressing the deferred action progress for young immigrants, including a breakdown of who exactly is eligible. In order to qualify for deferred action, an individual must prove that they:

  • came to the United States under the age of 16
  • have continuously resided in the United States for a least 5 years before June 15, 2012 and were present in the United States on June 15, 2012
  • are currently in school, graduated from high school, obtained a GED certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
  • have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise posed a threat to national security or public safety.
  • were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.

Click here to see the complete fact sheet. The NC Justice Center will hold free Deferred Action clinics where attorneys and BIA accredited representatives will assist people with their applications. Details and dates of the clinics will be available on the events page. For more information, call (919) 675-2409 or email at deferred.action.ncjc@gmail.com.

CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER CARE: Huntersville brunch for older adults

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, 919-856-2146 or nicole@ncjustice.org.

 

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