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The Voice of the Black Community
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Opinion

Medicaid expansion works
Time for NC to make progress
 
Published Monday, July 22, 2019 9:08 am
by Tony Copeland

Medicaid, premiums are seven percent lower on average. That’s because they’ve reduced the rate of uncompensated care. Those without insurance often have little choice but to rely on emergency rooms, which must treat them regardless of ability to pay.


An investment in rural economic development. Big employers won’t consider a location if there isn’t a hospital.  Without expansion, 40 percent of North Carolina’s rural hospitals are operating in the red, and five have closed since 2014.


That’s not the case in states that have expanded Medicaid. Eighty-three percent of rural hospital closures since 2014 have been in states that have not expanded.


Economic stimulus.  Just like a new factory or construction project, Medicaid expansion would stimulate the local economy. If North Carolina expanded Medicaid, more than 38,000 more jobs would exist than would if we don’t expand Medicaid, according to a report by the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University.


We would also gain $11.7 billion more in federal funding.


It’s time to stop ceding the competitive advantage and sending our tax dollars to other states to stimulate their economies, create jobs, and to provide affordable health insurance to residents. It’s time to say yes to expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.


Tony Copeland is North Carolina commerce secretary.

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