RALEIGH (June 4, 2019) – As North Carolinians prepare to gather in more than 20 communities across the state to lift up the need for Medicaid expansion, a new report from the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, highlights the importance of closing the coverage gap without adding additional barriers to health care access.
As leaders on both sides of the aisle have identified, the state’s high uninsurance rate is hindering the well-being of entire communities. At least 500,000 North Carolinians could enroll in quality health care through Medicaid expansion.
“Health care can’t wait and any effort to connect people with very low incomes to health insurance shouldn’t add conditions that won’t improve well-being and will keep people from the care they need,” said Alexandra Sirota, Director of the Budget & Tax Center.
Analysis shows current proposals that would require reporting on work activities, along with the payment of premiums, as a condition of receiving health care will keep a coverage gap in place.
These estimates use the lessons of other states to understand the potential harm of these provisions. Arkansas work reporting requirements resulted in over 18,000 people losing coverage, and was later suspended by a federal judge. Premium requirements in Indiana resulted in thousands of individuals losing coverage or not being able to enroll at all due to premium requirements.
The report’s conservative estimates show that:
- 88,000 North Carolinians would likely lose coverage due to the work reporting requirements
- 145,000 North Carolina would be blocked from enrolling or could lose coverage due to the premium requirement
“Requiring work reporting and premiums for those in need of health care coverage and with very low incomes fails to recognize the realities of the current labor market and economic security,” said Suzy Khachaturyan, Policy Analyst at the Budget & Tax Center. “It also fails to embrace the full potential of Medicaid expansion.”