NC Remains One of Just 12 States to Not Take Action to Help Uninsured and Under-Insured
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO / RALEIGH, NC) – August 5, 2020 – By a comfortable margin, Missouri voters on Tuesday chose to close their state’s healthcare coverage gap, leaving North Carolina one of just a dozen states that have not taken such action. In July, Oklahoma also voted to close the gap there by, like Missouri, expanding Medicaid to cover more people at no cost to state taxpayers.
The “coverage gap” refers to the dangerous quandary facing people who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to get help in the private insurance marketplace. Medicaid is the federal “coverage backbone” for health services helping people with low incomes who are disproportionately affected by illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure.
Prior to COVID-19, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that if North Carolina closed its coverage gap, over 400,000 North Carolinians would gain health insurance.
Following the economic and health wreckage of the pandemic, KKF estimates that 178,000 new North Carolinians now fall in the coverage gap.
For voters, closing the coverage gap is not a partisan issue. Missouri and Oklahoma, for example, have Republican governors and legislatures, and voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election.
“From firefighters to farmers, small business owners to childcare workers, many North Carolinians are now uninsured or under-insured,” said Peg O’Connell, chairperson of Care4Carolina, a statewide, 60+-member coalition of patient advocates, businesses, and others. “Missouri, Oklahoma and three dozen other states demonstrate how North Carolina, too, can close the deadly coverage gap.”
In a recent op-ed published in The Hickory Daily Record, Dr. Ed Bujold, a veteran and physician at Granite Falls Family Medical Care Center summed up the situation: “The pandemic has widened our state’s coverage gap, adding significantly to the hundreds of thousands of our friends, family and neighbors in pain and peril. Now is the time to act.”
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Photo credit: Springfield News-Leader article