As a physician, I see firsthand how medical conditions cause the loss of a life’s work. Medicaid currently covers low-income children and their parents, pregnant women, seniors and disabled people. To qualify, a family of four must make $11,000 or less annually. However, for that same family, the Affordable Care Act starts providing subsidies when income reaches $25,000. This coverage gap (i.e., those who cannot qualify for Medicaid or the ACA subsidies) leaves 500,000 North Carolinians without affordable coverage and one disaster away from ruin.
Having health care facilities to provide care is equally important. Rural hospitals are closing at an alarming rate. Hospitals in the Triad are showing signs of financial strain. Since 2010, five community hospitals in North Carolina have closed. Asheboro’s Randolph Hospital could be next. Hospitals are lifeblood to rural communities, providing both health care and jobs. Medicaid expansion would provide a much-needed boost to these facilities, creating 43,000 jobs and an economic boost of $4 billion.
Passing a clean version of Medicaid expansion is key to addressing these issues. I encourage all readers to contact their state representatives and tell them Medicaid expansion is the smart and moral course.