It’s been one week since the American Rescue Plan was signed into law, and North Carolinians are already seeing the benefits. This week, we’re showcasing five ways the American Rescue Plan helps North Carolina, and today we’re highlighting its provision to incentivize states to expand Medicaid.
The American Rescue Plan provides an incentive for states to expand Medicaid that haven’t yet by temporarily increasing federal Medicaid payments by five percent for two years. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, “North Carolina would be in line for $2.4 billion.”
“For far too long, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians have been denied access to health care. I urge my Republican colleagues in the Senate to take a fair look at this deal,” said Democratic Senate Leader Dan Blue. “We have come together on key issues this year, and this is another way to show North Carolinians that the government works for the people.”
“The American Rescue Plan sends North Carolina yet another chance to expand Medicaid and extend coverage to so many people who need it, while costing the state zero additional taxpayer dollars,” said Democratic House Leader Robert Reives. “The people of North Carolina deserve Medicaid expansion now.”
“We cannot wait any longer to expand health care to more than 500,000 North Carolinians that fall in the coverage gap today,” said NCDP Chair Bobbie Richardson. “The choice is clear — we can bring billions of dollars back home to North Carolina, while providing needed health care during this pandemic, supporting our rural hospitals, and creating jobs.”
Good policy is often good politics. That’s why “North Carolina voters overwhelmingly (77%) support Medicaid expansion – including 64% of Republicans; 76% of unaffiliated voters and 83% of Democrats.”
If expanding health care to more than 500,000 North Carolinians wasn’t enough, Medicaid expansion has a myriad of additional benefits to the state. Read more from a recent WRAL editorial:
- As has been pointed out repeatedly, there is Medicaid expansion funding in the recently enacted federal COVID-19 relief legislation. Those are dollars – estimated from between $1.7 billion to $2.4 billion — North Carolina taxpayers send to Washington and won’t come back without being used to help keep more North Carolinians healthy.
- It would provide a significant reduction in the uncompensated care costs hospitals have to shoulder for treating uninsured patients. Hospitals in Louisiana saw those costs reduced by a third as a direct result of that state’s expansion of Medicaid.
- Expanding Medicaid in the state would generate thousands more jobs and increase “business activity by $11.7 billion over three years, between 2020-2022. It’s money that could be spent on education, infrastructure and other needs.”
- It would provide much-needed financial support for struggling rural hospitals. “Medicaid expansion is likely the single fastest way to put these facilities on more solid economic ground.”