Governor Perdue issued a press release today detailing a new $5 million five year pilot program that will expand health coverage to uninsured working parents in NC. The number of families affected is relatively small – 1,500 – but the principle is sound: Expand health coverage to as many people as we can in the absence of federal action.
I’m hopeful we will get health reform at the national level this year. But, as the Governor’s effort shows, states have a continuing interest in expanding coverage regardless of what happens nationally. The parents covered by this new insurance will have gotten more expensive care in emergency rooms before they had coverage and now will be able to have a family doctor and get preventive care for conditions before they become serious.
The amount of federal money available to NC is small however and highlights how we need to rein in health costs through a true national reform effort. Without major change, we can’t afford the health system we have now – and without major change the numbers will go backwards. Instead of the Governor’s efforts reducing the numbers of uninsured, we will see many, many more people losing health coverage, especially through work.
Good for Governor Perdue for pushing NC in the right direction even in trying financial times.