Rep. Skip Stam Admits He Does Not Understand Medicaid Expansion
Over the weekend, Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, the second most powerful person in the NC House, made it clear that he does not understand the basic issues around the NC coverage gap and Medicaid expansion. Rep. Stam claimed that most people who would qualify for expanded Medicaid are already receiving health care subsidies from the federal government. This if of course not true at all. Over 350,000 North Carolinians are currently ineligible for federal subsides and fall into the NC coverage gap.
The comment earned him a "red light" rating. From WRAL's fact check,
According to Adam Searing, a senior research fellow a Georgetown University who has worked in North Carolina, there are about 357,000 completely left out in a Medicaid coverage gap because they are both ineligible for Medicaid and unable to qualify for help buying insurance on the exchanges. Some 143,000 may be in range of people who make between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Some in that range, he said, may have bought insurance. But others may not have been able to, even with help from the subsidies.
"This is not the 'most of the people' who would be helped by the expansion in North Carolina, but it is significant," Searing said. "I think there would have to be more analysis though to come up with a realistic number, however, given the age of the data."
Still, even given the broadest possible estimates, only between one-quarter and one-third of those helped by Medicaid expansion could possibly have health insurance bought through the exchanges now.
During a break in the show, we checked in with Stam regarding his statement on Medicaid. He said he was unaware of how the coverage gap worked. It's also fair to point out that we have updated this post with help from Searing due to the complexity of this topic.
Just this past week, we visited the legislature to promote ncleftmeout.org with the help of Dana Wilson. Dana has MS and falls into the NC coverage gap, as she does not qualify for federal subsidies. We wish Rep. Stam would have paid attention during that event, or any of the dozens of events like it that legislators, activists and organizations have been having for over a year now.