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How Medicaid Expansion Can Benefit North Carolinians

(Family Features) North Carolina will gain 37,000 more jobs and insure 365,000 more people by expanding Medicaid. In addition to the new jobs and newly insured North Carolinians, according to a report from researchers at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the state would increase its business activity by $11.7 billion in communities statewide in just three years, between 2020-2022, by expanding Medicaid.

Experts say North Carolina, one of just 14 states yet to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, is missing out on the opportunity to give its state economy a booster shot and open doors to health care services for many working families currently unable to afford private health insurance.

“Medicaid expansion is a job creator and can extend health coverage to thousands of previously uninsured North Carolinians who are falling through the gaps in our current system,” said Susan Shumaker, president, Cone Health Foundation. “States that have already expanded Medicaid are better equipped to tackle critical health care concerns like opioid addiction and infant mortality rates, issues that need to be addressed here at home in North Carolina.”

North Carolina has a higher rate of uninsured residents than the national average. In fact, roughly one-sixth of North Carolinians between the ages of 19-64 are uninsured – nearly 1 million people. North Carolinians are twice as likely to be uninsured as their neighbors in West Virginia and Kentucky.

The report, released by Greensboro’s Cone Health Foundation and Winston-Salem’s Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, shows all 100 counties in the state will benefit from the positive effects of Medicaid expansion with every county expected to see job growth, more people enrolled in Medicaid and increased economic activity. The report provides a county-by-county analysis of the benefits of Medicaid expansion, which will add additional revenue for the state that could be spent on education, infrastructure and other needs.

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“This report confirms what we’re hearing from families across the state – increased access to quality health care and economic opportunities helps communities thrive, and research shows that expanding Medicaid delivers both,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “Every community stands to benefit from Medicaid expansion. The evidence shows that closing the Medicaid gap will improve population health, support vulnerable North Carolina families and boost the economy across the major sectors.”

The report notes that North Carolina has some of the strictest Medicaid eligibility requirements in the country. Parents who earn more than $10,000 a year are not eligible for Medicaid, and single adults and childless couples are not eligible for the program – regardless of their income level – unless they are disabled or elderly.

Find out more about the potential coverage and economic benefits in your county at NCMedicaidExpansion.com .

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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