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Gov. Roy Cooper’s State of the State speech laid out opportunities to help North Carolinians overcome challenges. One of those is the lack of health care.
It’s time to close the “coverage gap” for people who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to purchase insurance through the marketplace. Sixty-three percent of uninsured North Carolinians are working but mainly in occupations that don’t offer affordable insurance: farmers, child care workers and small business owners.
Filling the coverage gap is good for our economy. When people have insurance, they live healthier lives and are able to work and be financially secure, thus helping avoid foreclosures and evictions. In the 37 states that expanded Medicaid, people are 25 percent less likely to miss a rent or mortgage payment.
Leaving people uninsured raises health care costs for everyone, causing hospitals to eat or shift costs, charging higher rates to the insured. Polling shows 71 percent of voters say health insurance is their top priority.
North Carolina Medicaid now has better predictability of costs under managed care. With bipartisan support, passage of legislation would offer 400,000 North Carolinians access to affordable health care.
Ask your legislators: “are you willing to help them?” It’s time.