ICYMI: Failure to Expand Medicaid in NC Leaves Thousands Uninsured During Pandemic
New NBC News report underscores impact of coverage gap for North Carolina’s most vulnerable during public health emergency
Raleigh, N.C. – The coronavirus pandemic is showing how North Carolina’s failure to expand Medicaid is leaving the most vulnerable North Carolinians at heightened risk, according to a new NBC News’ report. Senator Thom Tillis, as Speaker of the North Carolina General Assembly, backed a law preventing North Carolina from expanding Medicaid.
Piedmont Rising Executive Director, Casey Wilkinson, released the following statement in response:
“As the coronavirus spreads through communities across North Carolina, Medicaid expansion in our state is more important than ever. While Senator Tillis previously bragged about stopping Medicaid expansion cold —a move that denied 500,000 North Carolinians from gaining health coverage, cost North Carolina 37,000 jobs, and blocked billions of federal aid dollars that would have helped North Carolina hospitals and families during this crisis — now is the time for him and other leaders who opposed expansion to step up and right this wrong.
We’re here to remind North Carolina lawmakers who rejected Medicaid expansion that today they bear responsibility for the North Carolinians unable to get potentially life-saving care during this pandemic. It has never been more urgent for North Carolina to expand Medicaid.”
Congress' coronavirus legislation thus far has made testing free, but it has not addressed the cost of the medical treatment needed for the disease. A number of states have begun to explore options to address private health insurance and Medicaid programs, which provide coverage to low-income Americans.
The debate over the coverage gap in the United States is particularly stark in the 14 states — including North Carolina — that haven't expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
While most states in the nation have already expanded Medicaid, North Carolina Republicans have repeatedly blocked Medicaid expansion, effectively denying care for hundreds of thousands of people in the state.
Last year, Senator Thom Tillis previously bragged that he had “made it illegal to expand Medicaid” as House Speaker in North Carolina – just as a report found that Medicaid expansion would cover 500,000 more North Carolinians with health insurance and bring jobs to every single North Carolina county.
During a recent interview with WBTV in Charlotte Senator Thom Tillis again reiterated his stance that North Carolina should not expand health care access for working North Carolinians, saying that he’s against a “broad based expansion.”
About Piedmont Rising Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues, they were elected to represent. www.piedmontrising.org