RALEIGH (April 15, 2019) – The undersigned health advocacy organizations have united to voice opposition to provisions in HB655, NC Health Care for Working Families. We cannot support the bill in its current form.

HB655’s proposed work reporting requirements and 2 percent premiums will fail to deliver health care for our state’s working families. This bill is not Medicaid expansion and it will not provide the benefits that our state has been losing out on ever since the General Assembly’s first decision to reject Medicaid expansion in 2013.

For years, inaction and resistance to expanding Medicaid has harmed hundreds of thousands of hardworking North Carolinians who find themselves in the coverage gap. They have been saddled with medical debt, untreated illnesses, and unmanaged behavioral health disorders, resulting in a plethora of negative consequences that have affected our rural hospitals, our economy, our criminal justice system, and our state’s workforce.

HB655’s proposed work reporting requirements unnecessarily erect administrative barriers for struggling North Carolinians, and the complex bureaucratic red tape puts people who are already working at risk of losing care. These proposed requirements fly in the face of overwhelming evidence that shows these requirements do nothing to boost employment. In fact, research shows that work reporting requirements actually make it more difficult for workers to find jobs by denying them the care they need to return to work as soon as possible. Recently, a federal judge ruled against similar requirements that left nearly 18,000 Arkansans uninsured.

HB655’s 2 percent premium is an affront to working families barely making ends meet given their current incomes. To charge people earning 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Level — as little as a single parent earning approximately $700 a month — will force families to choose between putting food on the table and health care. This bill does not improve access to care for working families.

We call on our General Assembly to expand Medicaid.

In Solidarity,

Action NC
Addiction Professionals of North Carolina
Down Home NC
Equality NC
Health Care Justice NC
Health Care for All NC
Health Care for All-UNC
Health Care for All, Y’all
NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina
North Carolina Council of Churches
NC Justice Center
NC National Organization for Women
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic
Progress NC
Urban Survivor’s Union
Winston Salem Democratic Socialists of America