by Peg O’Connell
Care4Carolina was formed seven years ago to advocate for a solution for closing the coverage gap. When we started there were four organizations at a table in the small cafeteria in the Legislative Office Building. Boy, how things have changed!
Care4Carolina now has 120 organizational members, eighty-one communities of faith, more than 300 businesses, and thirty-seven civic and local government entities. This is a tidal wave of support from the public demonstrating that NOW IS THE TIME TO CLOSE THE COVERAGE GAP!
Could seven be our lucky number and that North Carolina will finally join the ranks of the other 38 states that have either expanded their Medicaid programs or come-up with a state specific program to help the people who are caught in the coverage gap?
Well, there has never been a more opportune time to take this one step that can improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, shore up our healthcare systems, support our rural communities and position our state for future success.
Polling indicates that 75% of North Carolina voters support greater access to affordable health insurance by closing the gap. With the added federal incentives coming from the American Rescue Plan, there has truly never been a better time to act and find a North Carolina solution to close the coverage gap once and for all.
Moreover, our state finances have been well managed over this past decade and we find ourselves in the enviable position of having a nearly $7 billion budget surplus. Now is the time to put those well managed assets to work for the state and guarantee a brighter and healthier future for the next ten years.
Governor Roy Cooper included Medicaid Expansion in his 2021 budget proposal and the North Carolina Senate included a limited expansion of Medicaid benefits for postpartum mothers in its budget proposal. It is our hope that when all is said and done, the final state budget will contain a comprehensive solution to close the coverage gap. This is so important for the physical, mental and economic health of our state.
We are down to the wire on healthcare coverage and the Budget Conference Committee holds the future of this issue in their hands. I ask that every reader of this blog will let their voices be heard by contacting your legislator on the Act Now page. Now is the time for action!
Let’s all continue to work to make this year lucky number seven—not just for Care4Carolina but for the 600,000 thousand North Carolinians stuck in the coverage gap!