North Carolina Council on Health Care Coverage Guiding Principles Point to One Clear Solution to Help Rural NC
A Statement by
Pastor James Brigman, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Rockingham, NC
Casey Cooper, CEO Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority, Cherokee, NC
Lisa Macon Harrison, Health Director, Granville Vance Public Health District
The Honorable Dale Wiggins, Graham County Commissioner
Patrick Woodie, President NC Rural Center
[Below is a statement by five members from rural counties who served on North Carolina Council on Health Care Coverage urging members of the General Assembly to move forward with creating a solution to close the state’s health care coverage gap].
“Each of us from the rural parts of our state appreciated the opportunity to serve on the Council. It was helpful to be part of an open, bipartisan discussion on how to fix one of our state’s biggest concerns. The Council’s Guiding Principles released today set out a clear direction for our policymakers and now it is time for all of us to get to work.
The Guiding Principles and the discussion that took place at the Council meetings make it obvious that there is only one fix that will provide insurance options for those in the coverage gap and that will benefit rural economies: closing the health care coverage gap through some form of Medicaid expansion.
This is also the option that costs the least because NC has already paid federal taxes that would come back to NC to cover the cost of covering 750,000 people, and remove the high burden of uncompensated care from our health care providers and hospitals. It was good for stakeholders to learn that our lawmakers can choose the strongest solution and it will not raise taxes or bring future costs to bear for North Carolina.
The Guiding Principles give us a road map to close the coverage gap. We all agree that we must find an option with a high return on investment – where we cover the most people at the best price; offer equitable access to care across the state and create an affordable health insurance option for those who don’t qualify for subsidies on the private marketplace.
Our rural communities need a solution and soon. There is no other single policy solution that the legislature can enact that will bring this level of funding to our local economies, help small businesses, stabilize our health care system, and offer quality insurance coverage options for the people of North Carolina. The pandemic has further highlighted the need for better access to whole-person care for all ages in all corners of our state.
As residents of rural North Carolina, we thank our Governor, the members of the General Assembly and all who served on the Council and we now call on these same leaders to work together during these coming months to create a plan that will work for our state and its people. Rural North Carolina can’t wait any longer.”