March 23, 2021/Media, Press

11 Years After ACA’s Passage, The American Rescue Plan Renews Fight For Medicaid Expansion In North Carolina

On this day eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, providing health care to over 133 million Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions. The ACA also provides states the option to expand Medicaid — a tool that Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly have blocked for years. But the American Rescue Plan opens the door for expansion by giving states like North Carolina an extra incentive. Even deep-red states, including Wyoming and Alabama are now considering Medicaid expansion.

“North Carolina is only one of 12 states that have yet to expand Medicaid,” said NCDP Chair Bobbie Richardson. “The pandemic has exposed existing health inequities that we can begin to address by extending health to more than 500,000 North Carolinians that fall in the coverage gap — at no cost to North Carolina taxpayers. Medicaid expansion is not only widely popular among North Carolinians, it’s sound policy that will improve health outcomes, bolster our state’s economy, create jobs, and support rural hospitals.”

A recent Meredith College poll found that two thirds of North Carolinians support expanding Medicaid, including 46 percent of Republicans: “Medicaid expansion, even though Republican leadership in the #NCGA has been steadfastly opposed to this provision, remains very popular, even among Republicans in the state.”

For many North Carolinians, lack of access to health care forces them into making tough decisions for their family. Webb, a mother of four in Alamance County, said: “You can get caught in the gap like we do, where we make too much to get full Medicaid but we make too little to be approved for true coverage…“Then we just have to make choices.” She added: “I feel like I’m not seen, heard or cared about,” Webb said, because of the way lawmakers have stood in the way of Medicaid expansion.”

Read more recent articles and editorials about the need to expand Medicaid in North Carolina: