Falling behind: Rising need for Medicaid, but Less State Funding Since Great Recession
In the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, the Great Recession destroyed hundreds of thousands of North Carolina jobs, driving up unemployment and underemployment even as the national economy entered a formal recovery. As workers lost their jobs and watched their incomes drop, many also lost their employer-provided health insurance or saw the cost of private health insurance move beyond their reach. As a result, demand for Medicaid—the Federal-State partnership that provides medical care for low- and middle-income people—exploded, as the number of individuals with sufficiently low incomes to be eligible for the program grew by 27 percent from the first Fiscal Year of the Recession (FY2007-08) through the current Fiscal Year (FY 2012-13). At the same time as the need for Medicaid exploded, the state decided to reduce the resources available to meet those needs, cutting the Medicaid budget by 6 percent over the same period and requiring patients, doctors, hospitals, and clinics to serve the health care needs of North Carolinians with significantly reduced financial support.