<< back to news

7-20-2015
Past President Bill Dworkin Advocating For Medicaid In North Carolina



Expand state’s Medicaid, group in Greensboro implores McCrory

Updated

Updated 10:23 p.m.

GREENSBORO — Health care advocates calling for Gov. Pat McCrory to expand the state’s Medicaid program say he needs to show leadership on the issue.

“We really want to tell the governor it’s time to do what’s right,” said Robin Lane, a retired pediatric nurse.

Lane was among several speakers at a news conference, including Guilford County Commissioner Ray Trapp and City Councilman Jamal Fox, asking the governor to expand health insurance coverage for the poor.

The gathering of about 100 people of varying economic backgrounds, races and ages at the Beloved Community Center was one of six events held Thursday from Greenville to Asheville calling on McCrory to deliver a Medicaid expansion plan.

Republicans in the General Assembly are adamant that any expansion of North Carolina’s Medicaid rolls must come after an overhaul of the system.

After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a portion of the 2010 federal health care law in June, McCrory said he was negotiating with officials in Washington to obtain waivers to use federal money for a state-specific plan to expand Medicaid coverage.

Lane and others said they were speaking out for people who fall between the cracks — too poor to qualify under the federal Affordable Care Act and not poor enough to qualify under current state and federal insurance programs. They pointed to research by the journal Health Affairs, which reported that closing the Medicaid coverage gaps in North Carolina could prevent more than 1,000 deaths each year.

Two years ago, state legislators declined to expand Medicaid for an estimated 500,000 people whose incomes are below the poverty level but are also too high to qualify for Medicaid. Those people also do not make enough money for policies under the Affordable Care Act.

“These are not simply statistics,” said the Rev. Diane L. Givens Moffett of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro. “These are people.”

Some studies show that people who cannot afford to pay for insurance may use hospital emergency rooms for routine care. When they can’t pay the bill, hospitals write it off as bad debt. That debt is passed on to consumers.

“I find it absolutely reprehensible and hypocritical that the very legislators who tout their Christian faith in other matters apparently have forgotten their namesake,” said Dr. Beth Mulberry of the Mustard Seed Community Health Clinic.

According to a report released Thursday by NC Child, an advocacy group for children, about 27 percent of the people in North Carolina expected to benefit if the state extends Medicaid eligibility are parents with children who still live at home.

The report also found that the state has some of the highest rates of uninsured parents in the country.


Posted 12:55 p.m.

GREENSBORO — Speakers calling for Gov. Pat McCrory to expand Medicaid  say he needs to show leadership on the issue.

"We really want to tell the governor it's time to do what's right," said Robin Lane, a retired pediatric nurse practitioner at an 11 a.m. press conference  today at the Beloved Community Center.

Lane was among speakers, including Guilford County Commissioner Ray Trapp and City Councilman Jamal Fox, asking the governor to expand the health insurance coverage for the poor.

Lane and the others said they were speaking out for people who fall between the health insurance coverage cracks — too poor to qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act and not poor enough to qualify under current state and federal insurance program for the poor and disabled in the state.

They pointed to economic impact research that says closing the Medicaid coverage gaps in North Carolina could prevent more than 1,000 deaths each year, while not expanding Medicaid has cost the state 43,000 jobs.

The gathering, sponsored by Working America and  the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, was one of six events held today from Greenville to Asheville calling on McCrory to deliver a Medicaid expansion plan.

That request follows the King vs. Burwell case, which which went before the U.S. Supreme Court last month. It looked at the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The majority of the justices agreed with the president.

While speakers said McCrory had said he would deliver a proposal after the case, the governor's office says that that doesn’t mean it will include an expansion.

"He never promised there would be an expansion, he just said he might consider it," said Graham Wilson, the governor's press secretary.

State legislators two years ago declined to expand Medicaid for an estimated 500,000 people whose incomes are below the poverty level but are also too high to qualify for Medicaid. Those people also do not make enough money for policies under the Affordable Care Act.

"These are not simply statistics," said the Rev. Diane L. Givens Moffett of St. James Presbyterian Church. "These are people."

Statistics show that people who cannot afford to pay for insurance may use hospital emergency rooms for routine care and when they cannot pay the bill — which is usually multiple the cost of visiting a doctor's office — hospitals write it off as bad debt. That debt is passed on to those who can pay by higher costs. Those with insurance might find higher premiums.

And often, the conditions of those with chronic conditions worsen because they are not getting routine care.

On a board near Dr. Beth Mulberry of the Mustard Seed Clinic was an enlarged quote attributed to state Sen. Phil Berger (R-Rockingham), which read: "I do not see any good reason to expand Medicaid at this time."

Mulberry said she couldn't find a reason — economical or otherwise — for the state not to do it. She also said she could not find a faith group that did not offer compassion to the poor.

"I  find it absolutely reprehensible and hypocritical that the very legislators who tout their Christian faith in other matters apparently have forgotten their namesake, and the ultimate teacher of their faith, healed the sick and fed the poor," Mulberry said.

The federal government would have picked up 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion between 2014 and 2016, then 90 percent of the cost.

According to a report released today by NC Child, about 27 percent of the people in North Carolina  expected to benefit if the state extends Medicaid eligibility are parents with children currently in the home.

That report also found that North Carolina’s parents have some of the highest uninsured rates in the country. North Carolina’s 22 percent uninsured rate for parents places it 38th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to findings by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.








  
View Archives
NYC MEA Survivor's Guide
Copyright 2017 New York City Managerial Employees Association. Powered by BlueSwitch