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With one of the largest uninsured populations in the country, North Carolina is home to far too many people who lack the regular health car access and financial security that comprehensive health care coverage provides. In an economic landscape in which employers consider health outcomes in their location and expansion decisions, North Carolina’s 10.7 percent uninsured rate—the 10th highest in the nation—makes us less competitive. Moreover, it limits the ability of our residents to thrive. After all, having health insurance improves the health and economic security of individuals and communities. When people have coverage, they are more likely to have a source of regular health care, get the quality care they need, and report better health outcomes. When uninsured people gain coverage, they are less likely to face high out-of-pocket costs and less likely to incur medical debt, giving them a better shot at prospering in today’s economy.

Impact on Rural Hospitals

Expanding Medicaid is the right choice for North Carolina as well as rural hospitals and economies. As has happened in many states where Medicaid expansion has been blocked, rural hospitals in North Carolina are struggling to cope with a number of pressures, including high uninsured rates and uncompensated care costs.

Hospitals in rural areas would receive a greater benefit in part because they care for a larger portion of uninsured North Carolinians compared to those with insurance coverage. As the report explains, hospitals in rural areas are faced with higher uncompensated care costs as a result, which add up with more uninured individuals seeking care, and can ultimately lead to a hospital closing their doors if they are unable to recuperate the costs. Since 2013, five rural hospitals in North Carolina have closed. Learn more here.