By: Peg O’Connell, Chair, Care4Carolina
Care4Carolina starts a new weekly blog today. As the chair of C4C, I will do my best to provide news, insights and opinion on how the health insurance coverage gap is impacting North Carolinians across our state. This blog will focus on the physical health of our people as well as the economic health of our state.
As Care4Carolina Stakeholders and friends, I hope you will share this blog and C4C’s other new social media outreach with your friends, members and partner organizations. In short, I hope someone other than my husband and grandchildren end up reading this weekly column.
No discussion of the coverage gap in North Carolina can begin without looking at how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the health of the uninsured and the hospitals, doctors and other healthcare providers who care for them.
Prior to the pandemic, it was estimated that between 400,00 and 500,000 individuals were in North Carolina’s coverage gap. These are the folks who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but earn too little to qualify for a subsidy to buy health insurance on the Exchange. Because of the COVID-19 emergency, nearly 1.4 million North Carolinians have been impacted by job loss. This means that many of our fellow citizens and their families who had job provided health insurance, now have lost that coverage at the same time they lost their job. This creates the horrible combination of having no job and no health coverage in the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years.
Sadly, North Carolina’s delay in enacting a solution to close this health insurance coverage gap, is taking a horrible toll in our state. We know the personal health toll in lost lives and lost jobs, but we must also examine how this failure is impacting our economy and our health care system.
To that end, Care4Carolina will hold a virtual briefing: COVID-19 and the Health Insurance Coverage Gap on July 14 from 11:30 to 1pm via Zoom.
A panel of experts will examine the impact of the pandemic on our economy, health systems, families and children, and chronic disease patients, as well as the role health disparities have played in worsening the situation for so many North Carolinians.
During the briefing, we will discuss how closing the health insurance coverage gap is vital to the health of our citizens, and to alleviating the devastating impacts of this pandemic. There will also be a chance for you to ask questions. Registration is required, but we have plenty of room. To see the full agenda and register, click here. We hope you can join us.
I appreciate your taking the time to read my first ever blog and I look forward to seeing you on Zoom on July 14.
Bruce Hoof says
Hear, hear and Amen. This crying public need should be obvious to anyone. Sadly, it seems to be lost on our Republican elected officials. We can hope they “get religion” but probably the only medicine that can truly cure this crisis would be administered at the ballot box this November. This year Tar Heels should vote Blue as if their lives depend on it, because they most likely do!
Betsy Vetter says
I’m looking forward to your blog! It’s past time for NC to close the coverage gap. Thanks for all your hard work and efforts.
Meg Molloy says
At this critical time, we need leaders who can forge a path forward to:
1) support health coverage for the growing number who fall in the gap;
2) stabilize the finances of health care providers and systems who provide care regardless of a person’s ability to pay (and preserve the jobs of these front line organizations);
3) support economic recovery of businesses and governments; and
4) provide fiscal stewardship to our state budget by bringing in available federal funds to cover 90% of these costs, and preventing our state deficit from growing further if we elect to leave those funds in Washington.