Why Medicaid expansion is a must

The NC Council of Churches and NC Justice Center will hold a special community meeting this evening on health care reform at the Martin Street Baptist Church.

The meeting comes as North Carolina legislators face a major decision next year – whether to expand Medicaid coverage benefiting an additional 500,000 working-age adults in 2014. Specifically the expansion would provide access to quality, affordable health care to those who have annual incomes of less than $15,000 per year.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer, state legislators can vote to expand Medicaid coverage or reject it without any penalty.

Adam Linker, a policy analyst for the NC Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition, notes that rejecting expansion would mean turning down $20 billion in federal funds that would flow to the state over ten years to help cover the uninsured.

In an article for Policy & Progress, Linker goes on to explain how refusing to expand Medicaid would have a negative ripple effect:

‘It would mean imperiling the financial solvency of many rural hospitals that currently provide a lot of free care and are struggling; under Medicaid expansion, they would see a significant and much-needed increase in their numbers of insured patients.

And rejecting Medicaid expansion would mean allowing 2,840 people to die every year unnecessarily.

That last point comes from a recent Harvard study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors examined states that dramatically expanded Medicaid in recent years and those that did not. Researchers compared states with similar demographic profiles and ruled out reasons why people in one state might live longer than people in another state.

They found that expanding Medicaid by 500,000 enrollees is associated with 2,840 fewer deaths. Medicaid, the authors concluded, likely saves lives.

That makes sense. You can’t catch cancer early enough to treat it effectively if you can’t afford screenings, which are not provided free in the emergency room. To get them you need to visit a doctor and you will need to have insurance or cash. You also can’t get treatment for high blood pressure or diabetes if you don’t know you have the condition and you can’t afford the medication.

In North Carolina the Medicaid expansion would cover more than 500,000. So that’s 2,840 lives saved every year.’

To learn more, check out tonight’s meeting and join in the conversation about how the health care law is currently helping families.  The event begins at 6:30 p.m.  at the Martin Street Baptist Church at 1001 E. Martin Street in downtown Raleigh.

11 Comments

  1. Alex

    September 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Why do we always refer to Medicaid as affordable healthcare when the recipient pays nothing for the coverage ? Taxpayers are footing the entire bill with no deductible or coinsurance, so it’s the best health plan available at no cost.

  2. gregflynn

    September 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    That’s a strawman, a few falsehoods and a rhetorical question all wrapped up in one.

    The only “we” is Alex-Doug-Andrew. I’m not aware of anyone else “always refer to Medicaid as affordable healthcare”.

    In most states, including North Carolina, copays are required for some Medicaid services and fees for some income levels. There are also restrictions on the amount and types of service.

  3. Alex

    September 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    If you simply read the article greg, you will see the statement that is used quite a bit on this site.Affordable always means that someone else is picking up the tab.. Co-pays are virtually non-existent in Medicaid, and healthcare providers simply write them off.

  4. gregflynn

    September 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Alex, you lied. You won’t admit it, but you’re trying to tell us it’s no biggie, with no facts and a lot of innuendo.

  5. Alex

    September 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    You are the one who lied Greg. You simply jumped the gun as usual, and didn’t read the article.

  6. gregflynn

    September 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I had read the article already. There are copays. You claim there is no coinsurance. That’s false.

  7. Alex

    September 17, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    In healthcare settings, Medicaid co-pay is nothing but an additional reduction of an already low reimbursement rate that has to be subsidized by private insurance. Providers write off these amounts as essentially uncollectible, and just accept the state payment. Obviously, you haven’t dealt much with health insurance.

  8. Adam Searing

    September 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    “Alex”, “Doug”, “Juan Gonza”, “frances”, “David Wordslay”, and “Andrew” are all made-up names from the same person. It isn’t worth responding to his comments. So, when you see “Alex” get agreement from “Doug” it shouldn’t be surprising. And when you see “Juan Gonza” parrot the line that “Doug” took it should be expected. I guess it’s flattering that the NC right-wing machine feels funding someone to spend enormous amounts of time on our blog is worthwhile, but ignoring the anonymous posts he wouldn’t dare confess to writing under his own name should be easy.

  9. Alex

    September 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    I get tickled at Adam who obviously has a lot of time on his hands. Besides his daily ritual worship for Obama,and a few op-ed pieces about the ACA legislation, Adam has nothing to do but chase after retired conservatives. I really admire a guy on the nonprofit/government dole who’s been able to somehow convince people that he’s an expert on something even though he’s never held a real job. What a nice gig he and Ezra Klein have come up with, and it sure beats working. Congratulations Adam !

  10. Frank Burns

    September 18, 2012 at 5:43 am

    The approach being used by Florida to manage Medicaid, if used by NC could save $2.7 Billion per year. http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/display_exclusive.html?id=9490

  11. Carly EngageAmerica

    September 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

    The ACA will not control costs. The Affordable Care Act is relying on dozens of pilot programs and demonstration projects to find better ways of delivering care, the results of which have been disappointing. Further, we will still be left with a system in which no one will be choosing between health care and other uses of money. And if no one is making those choices, health care spending will keep rising in the future with all the relentless persistence it has shown in the past (http://go.cms.gov/KuroN5).