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VIDEO: Rep. Butler Joins NC Advocates to Discuss Impacts of Stalling on Medicaid Expansion

Updated: May 22, 2020

VIDEO: Rep. Butler Joins NC Advocates to Discuss the Real-World Impacts of overturning the ACA and Stalling on Medicaid Expansion During a Health Crisis

Access to health care for North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions hangs in the balance after slow federal response to coronavirus crisis

Raleigh, N.C. – ​Last night, Piedmont Rising, joined by Representative Deb Butler (HD-18) hosted a virtual town hall highlighting to discuss the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid and why Medicaid expansion in North Carolina is needed now more than ever as America grapples with the coronavirus crisis.

Medicaid is an essential program for more than 70 million Americans currently receiving coverage, including more than 35 million children and 7.2 million seniors. Despite its successes, North Carolina remains one of 14 states in the U.S. that has not yet expanded Medicaid. 500,00 North Carolinians could have gained health coverage if North Carolina had expanded Medicaid under the ACA.

Watch the event recording here.​

Rep. Deb Butler highlighted the importance of providing care for everyone to ensure the health and safety of the entire community and explained General Assembly leadership’s refusal to expand Medicaid has left more than half a million North Carolinians without access to health care.

“I honestly don’t understand the objections and I think it is very hard for leadership in the General Assembly to articulate rational reasons for not expanding Medicaid,” said Butler. “The compassionate, correct, and economic thing to do is to expand Medicaid in North Carolina and yet we haven’t done it.”

Rep. Butler urged participants to reach out to their lawmakers to urge them to move to expand Medicaid in response to the public health emergency and explained how expansion would support not only North Carolinians but also the state's rural hospitals, which are struggling to operate with limited resources.

Butler added, “If a pandemic doesn’t motivate you to extend health care to the working poor of North Carolina, then I am just not sure that anything can.”

Sharing highlights from a recent rural health care report, Piedmont Rising Research Director, Natalie Niemeyer, expanded on the negative impact that the lack of Medicaid expansion has had on North Carolina, “This is becoming especially true as rural health care providers are struggling and disproportionately dealing with the impact (of COVID-19) and patients without insurance coming in seeking treatment for the coronavirus.”

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented health care crisis that underscores how critical access to quality, affordable health care is. The takeaway from our conversation with Representative Butler was crystal clear: our lawmakers should be improving access to health care, including expanding Medicaid here in North Carolina—rather than callously working to take it away,” said Piedmont Rising Executive Director, Casey Wilkinson, following the virtual town hall. “Piedmont Rising will continue to elevate North Carolinians health care stories and remind North Carolina lawmakers really at stake if they fail to put the health and safety of North Carolina first.”

Media Contact:

Jessica Coscia


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