Medicaid is a program funded by federal and state government that provides health insurance to the neediest people in North Carolina. However, due to funding restrictions, Medicaid currently covers fewer than half of people in poverty. Usually, the federal government pays two thirds of the state’s Medicaid cost, but the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA” or “Obamacare”) offers to pay 90 percent of the costs of extending Medicaid, or a private market alternative, to cover all North Carolina citizens who are poor, or near poverty. States may either extend traditional Medicaid, or propose an innovative alternative for federal funding. So far, North Carolina’s leaders have declined the opportunity to cover this population, citing the costs and disadvantages of doing so.
This is one of a series of Issue Briefs, produced by the Wake Forest Health Law and Policy Program, exploring the costs and benefits of Medicaid and its alternatives in North Carolina. This Issue Brief focuses on the potential for Medicaid funding to benefit military veterans. North Carolina has a large military and veteran population (fourth largest in the nation), and veterans are one of the groups of North Carolina citizens who could benefit from Medicaid funding under the ACA. This Issue Brief explains why veterans might need some form of Medicaid funding in order to secure access to medical care, and it estimates how many low-income veterans could benefit.