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Video: NC NAACP Calls for Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina

Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, is in the progressive movement “for the long haul.” In a press conference in Durham, North Carolina two days after the November elections, the civil rights activist was not deterred by Republican victories, but vowed to stay the course and to hold Senator-elect Thom Tillis’ and Gov. Pat McCrory’s feet to the fire.

After verbalizing lofty predictions about being in “the embryonic stages of a third reconstruction,” Barber said his organization would be sending letters to the governor and newly elected senator with demands including the expansion of Medicaid. 

Expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands more North Carolinians in low-income brackets would not only open the state to federal funding in the amount of $18 billion over the next ten years according to Sen. Ralph Hise, R-Spruce Pine, but the state would have to cover administrative costs to the tune of $2 billion per year. That’s a “50-50 split” said Hise.

Hise is a statistician by trade and is co-chairman of the state senate committee for Appropriations on Health and Human Services.

The left-leaning policy institute Robert Wood Johnson Foundation claimed in a study that the state would miss out on $51 billion from the federal government over ten years.

But Hise noted several concerns in expanding Medicaid to 400,000 more people here. From Citizen-Times:

  • Expansion starts with 100 percent funding for services and drops to 90 percent by 2020. But, Hise said, if the federal government changed the plan, the state could pay much more.
  • And, he said, expansion would make Medicaid the largest health insurance provider in the state — bigger even than Blue Cross Blue Shield.
  • Since its rates are lower than private insurance, that would be bad for the economy and health care, he said.

North Carolina already spends $13.8 billion on Medicaid per year, taking up 73% of the DHHS annual budget. And according to the Foundation for Government Accountability, expansion will benefit a population that potentially consists of 80% of able-bodied adults with no children.

McCrory and  Tillis have both said they would be open to looking into expanding Medicaid if economic conditions warrant it. However, according to Sarah Curry, fiscal analyst with the John Locke Foundation, expenditures for health and human services in the last ten years have overtaken the budget for education. That wouldn’t bode well for expansion since the state has been attempting to find more money for education reform.

Rev. Barber and the NC NAACP want the governor to spend more on Medicaid, but they don’t address the detrimental consequences.

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Categories: Healthcare, Must Read, News, Policy, Video
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