NC HEALTH REPORT: NC refuses Medicaid expansion and Wilkes County hurts – badly

April 16, 2014

You could tell this story in any one of the most rural counties in North Carolina. From the Wilkes Journal-Patriot in a stunning story yesterday:

Over half of the 898 people who contacted a temporary counselor in Wilkes County for help in signing up for health insurance during the first federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period didn’t qualify.

Most of these 512 people unable to get insurance with reduced premiums through the ACA didn’t qualify because their incomes were below the federal poverty level, said Wilkes Health Department Director Ann Absher. Minimum annual income for a single person to qualify is $11,490. It’s $23,550 for a family of four.

Here at the NC Justice Center we hear similar stories every time we go to the more rural parts of our state. Most recently we heard the difficulty health asisters have in Beaufort County when they have to tell people they are “too poor” to get coverage.  It’s easy for Governor Pat McCrory and some NC legislators to be glib about why they refused the billions of dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  But I’d like to require them to have to personally answer the poor, hardworking folks they denied health coverage to this year. Maybe then they wouldn’t be smiling quite so broadly as they are in the photo below.


 
The business case for Medicaid expansion in NC

Andrew Brod, senior research fellow in UNC Greensboro’s Center for Business and Economic Research, has a great column in the Charlotte Business Journal this week making the strong business case for why NC should accept the billions of federal dollars now available to expand Medicaid.  His reasons are wide ranging from more jobs to avoidance of business tax penalties and even lower rates of personal bankruptcies. Reasons like these are why many conservative states are now moving to close the Medicaid coverage gap – let’s hope NC can be as smart. Read Brod courtesy of the Charlotte Business Journal here.

Affordable Care Act forum in Williamston

Join the Health Care Access Coalition for a forum in Williamston on the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and the health benefits exchanges.

As the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in our state, Norh Carolina lawmakers have blocked the Medicaid program from being expanded. This means that 500,000 working adults will remain uninsured in 2014. Join in the conversation with the NC Justice Center to discuss the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, how Medicaid expansion would help the community, the new health benefits exchanges (online marketplace for purchasing insurance), and eligibility for tax credits for individuals and small businesses.

The event will be held on Thursday, May 8, from 6:30-8:00 p.m at the Back Swamp Church of Christ, located at  1414 Bear Grass Road, Williamston, NC 27892.

Join us! Call or email today to reserve your place: Church office: (252)-792-8220 or Nicole Dozier: nicole@ncjustice.org / (919) 272-3593. Refreshments will be served.
 

Authors: 
Projects: 
Research & Publications: