Medicaid provides crucial resources for meeting the long-term care needs of North Carolina’s seniors and adults with disabilities, resources that will only become more important since the population over 65 is projected to more than double by 2050.

As this population expands, a growing number of seniors and adults with disabilities will need low-cost solutions for the challenge of long-term care. In-home care services are more cost-effective than nursing homes. Unfortunately, however, the rate at which Medicaid reimburses home health care providers in North Carolina is just $13.88—the fourth lowest in the nation and well below the national average reimbursement rate of $18.82 an hour. This is nowhere close to what it takes for employers to make a profit and workers to earn wages that allow them to make ends meet.

That’s why the General Assembly should increase the Medicaid reimbursement rates for the Personal Care Services (PCS) and Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP-DA) to $18.82 an hour and require that at least 50 percent of this increase go directly to workers’ wages. Both of these programs were carved out of the Medicaid reform proposal passed by the General Assembly in 2015, meaning they are still administered by the traditional Medicaid program. As a result, this is a challenge that can—and should—be remedied by legislative action. In turn, this will benefit seniors and adults with disabilities across the state, along with the caregivers that have been entrusted with their wellbeing.