By Peg O’Connell
Dear Santa, I know it has been a while since I have written, but these are tough times for North Carolina and we could really use your help.
Our state has been hit very hard by the COVID pandemic. So many people are sick and nearly 6000 have died. Hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table. On top of that, many of the people who did have health insurance through their workplace lost their health insurance when they got laid-off.
Before COVID struck, North Carolina had 500,000 people in the coverage gap. That means they aren’t eligible for Medicaid but make too little to qualify for a subsidy in the private health insurance market. Now, because of the devastation to the economy caused by the pandemic, the people at the Kaiser Family Foundation estimate that there are another 200,000 North Carolinians who could benefit if we were to come up with a solution to close the coverage gap. This is not going to be a good Christmas for these North Carolina neighbors.
Santa, we really need to do something to help these people. So many of them have worked hard all their lives and now find themselves with no health insurance in the middle of the worst health crisis in our state’s history.
We have a good idea of what we could do to make this situation better. All North Carolina needs is the political will to get it done. Could you please look in your bag and see if there are some things that can help us, like kindness, cooperation, vision and leadership. I promise that we won’t waste the gifts that you bring.
Santa, could you please bring us a solution for closing the coverage gap in 2021.