NC hospital association supports expanded Medicaid inclusion in budget

The North Carolina Healthcare Association (NCHA) issued a statement supporting the inclusion of Medicaid expansion in Gov. Ron Cooper’s budget. North Carolina is one of only 12 states that has yet to take advantage of the expanding the coverage to low-income individuals in a way that is mostly funded by the federal government.

 

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The expansion covers the gap between those who earn too much money to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but not enough to afford commercial insurance.

 

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The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for individuals to have affordable care options, said Steve Lawler, CEO of the NCHA.

“When individuals have health insurance, they are better able to receive preventative care, lowering costs for all. It’s time to look at the Medicaid expansion with fresh eyes.”

Expanding Medicaid would eliminate some of the $2.8 billion of uncompensated care that North Carolina hospitals cover every year, Lawler said.

“[The] NCHA looks forward to working with General Assembly members and the Governor to make coverage for our underserved communities a reality under the new federal plan that will also bring over $2 billion in tax dollars back to North Carolina.”

Cooper pitched the $27 billion budget proposal on March 25, which calls for Medicaid eligibility expansion beginning Oct. 1 for more than 600,000 North Carolinians. The funds would help rural hospitals stay open, address the opioid epidemic and secure the state’s share of federal resources.

The budget directs more than $250 million in Medicaid resources to address social determinants and $27 million in FY 2021-22 and $31 million in 2022-23 fo the Medicaid and Health Choice Transformation program. The Medicaid Information Technology Infrastructure will cost $11 million both fiscal years.