Medicaid expansion will help keep rural hospitals from closing

Every North Carolinian should be able to access the health care they need without going bankrupt. Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would provide coverage to about 500,000 low-income people. Unfortunately, the General Assembly continues to reject federal funding to expand Medicaid, choosing politics over the health and the well-being of North Carolina families.

Since the General Assembly first refused to expand Medicaid in 2010, several rural hospitals in our state have closed their doors — including one in Washington County just last month. Medicaid expansion will help keep rural hospitals afloat, connecting people to the care they need and boosting the well-being of families and communities.

  • In the past year, Medicaid provided health coverage for 1.9 million poor seniors, children, parents, and people with disabilities in North Carolina. More than half of those people live in rural areas.
  • Six rural hospitals in our state have closed since 2010, and several others are at high risk of financial distress. Medicaid expansion will disproportionately benefit rural communities by improving health care access and building stronger local economies.
  • Closing the Medicaid coverage gap will help rural communities stabilize local hospitals and health care providers, support their local workforce, and stabilize household budgets where health care costs can result in high debt.
  • Treating large numbers of uninsured patients puts a financial strain on health care providers, which results in higher costs for everyone. Medicaid expansion will benefit health care providers because they will treat many more patients with health coverage, resulting in more reimbursements, healthier patients, and lower costs for everyone.
  • More than 13,000 jobs could be added to North Carolina’s 80 rural counties if the General Assembly expands Medicaid. That means more tax revenue for rural communities and stronger rural economies.

Medicaid expansion will make health care more affordable for everyone by making sure more North Carolinians are covered by health insurance. Medicaid expansion is key to reducing health disparities in our rural communities.

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Eleanore Wood

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