On Feb. 27, health care advocates, providers, patients from across the state will unite in Raleigh to call for a healthy North Carolina

What: Press conference for Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day
Who: Patients, health care providers, community-based organizations, and advocates
When: Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 1:00 p.m.
Where: Legislative Press Conference Room LB, 16 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601

RALEIGH (February 21, 2019) — Next week hundreds of Tar Heels from across the state will travel to the North Carolina General Assembly to call on their elected officials to expand Medicaid and help half a million North Carolinians access care.

Representative Carla Cunningham (District 106-Mecklenburg County) will join advocates, doctors, and patients for a press conference on the importance of expanding Medicaid to increase access to affordable health care for working North Carolinians.

“As a registered nurse, I see the difference that having health coverage makes for North Carolinians,” said Rep. Cunningham. “As a lawmaker, I’m proud to have sponsored House Bill 5, Medicaid Expansion, and to close the coverage gap for 500,000 North Carolina citizens.”

Other speakers, including uninsured patients, will share their personal accounts of not having access to quality, affordable health care. Dr. Stephen Luking, a Reidsville-based primary care physician for over 30 years, will tell powerful stories about how difficult it is to see his patients suffering unnecessarily, and in some cases die, because they lack health coverage.

Health Action NC, a diverse coalition of community-based organizations and volunteers have been working across the state, organizing and mobilizing grassroots support centered around the experiences of the people who are being hurt by our state’s decision to not expand Medicaid. This galvanized force will be asking our elected officials to support HB5 and companion Senate Bill 3, which would allow so many working North Carolina families to get the care they need to live healthy lives.

The press conference will follow an advocacy training and policy overview beginning at the NC Museum of History at 8:45 a.m., with DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen as the keynote speaker. Dr. Eleanor Greene, an OB-GYN from High Point, will give a policy overview to highlight the health and economic benefits Medicaid expansion will bring to our state.

“If we expanded Medicaid there would be significant dollars that would come to our state, money that we need,” said Dr. Greene. “Right now other states are getting the benefit of North Carolina’s tax dollars, while too many of our people are hurting.”

The advocacy day will also include a panel discussion with people who are directly impacted by this policy choice, followed by constituents bringing their stories directly to their lawmakers with legislative visits.

Many of the people who don’t have coverage are working hard, in jobs that make up the backbone of our economy like construction, child care, home health and food service.

“I work full time and I don’t get health care benefits. What are people supposed to do when they can’t get health coverage through their jobs?” said Becky Murphy, one of the thousands of working people who has fallen into the coverage gap. “I have $50,000 in medical debt and because of that I can’t get an apartment or a car or a better job. It creates a vicious cycle.”