Steve Shore of the NC Pediatric Society said it best after news of her death appeared today in the News and Observer:
Barbara Matula, former Director of the NC Division of Medical Assistance [Medicaid], died on Monday, June 1 after a long illness. Barbara will be remembered for her advocacy for access to health care for the uninsured, underserved and our most vulnerable populations and for her appreciation of the contribution and the dedication of health professionals to partner with state government in this work. She was a national leader and innovator in designing and implementing Medicaid policies and programs that were favorable and fair to both recipients and medical providers. I had the privilege of working with Barbara on many projects in my tenure as director of the community health center association and frequently consulted with her on behalf of the NCPS after her retirement from DMA.
I worked with Barbara also – my first job out of law school was as a lawyer with NC Medicaid – and got to know and enjoy Barbara’s advocacy, especially after I came to the NC Justice Center. In fact, I was lucky she was in charge of NC Medicaid in the two years I worked there because I did so much advocacy and got into so much hot water that anyone else probably would have shown me the door! She worked hard to make the world a better place.