RALEIGH (September 13, 2016) — Newly released state-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau on the number of people in each state with health insurance coverage show that North Carolina’s health coverage lags behind other states due to the failure to expand Medicaid in the Tar Heel state.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace, where consumers can shop for private health insurance plans at reduced cost thanks to financial assistance from the federal government, North Carolina’s uninsured rate decreased by 1.9 percent between 2014 and 2015 as previously uninsured North Carolinians enrolled in health insurance coverage.
- North Carolina saw its uninsured population reduced by 173,000 from 2014 to 2015
- Nearly one-third of the remaining uninsured could gain coverage if the Governor and General Assembly accepted federal funds to close the Medicaid coverage gap
- North Carolina’s uninsured rate is down to 11.2 percent, still well above national average of 9.1 percent
North Carolina simply isn’t making the progress it could be because state lawmakers have not yet accepted federal funds to expand eligibility for the Medicaid program. While other states are making big progress, the Governor and General Assembly have left up to 500,000 Tar Heels without the care they need to work, take care of their kids, and be healthy, productive members of society.
States that have fully implemented the Affordable Care Act by closing the coverage gap have seen greater reductions in the uninsured rate of their populations. Along with increased coverage rates under Medicaid, these states have also seen improved access to health care services, fewer financial barriers to care, and better health outcomes for their residents. What’s more, bringing in federal dollars to cover the uninsured creates jobs and generates economic activity.
“It’s not too late for North Carolina to accept federal funding to close the coverage gap,” said Nicole Dozier, Director of the NC Justice Center’s Health Advocacy Project. “The state needs lawmakers who will stand up, work together, and choose to do the right thing.”