Last week I was meeting with other health advocates from around the country. Many of them had one question for me – with our state’s refusal to expand Medicaid or set up a state exchange under the Affordable Care Act, how is it that NC is enrolling twice the percentage of its uninsured people in private health plans than any other similar state? In response I wrote this op-ed in today’s News and Observer:
While North Carolina has refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and many politicians continue to complain about the federal health exchange, the roll-out of Obamacare in N.C. tells a far more positive story.
North Carolina is enrolling uninsured people at a rate at least twice that of any other state that has refused to set up its own health exchange and refused to expand Medicaid. In short, among states that are dragging their feet on the Affordable Care Act – no advertising campaigns, no speeches by the governor on how important it is for everyone to have access to health care, no Medicaid expansion that guarantees the lowest income workers coverage – North Carolina is by far leading the pack in private plan enrollment.
Even with the federal health exchange’s shaky start, N.C. has already enrolled 107,778 uninsured people in private health plans. Compare that with Virginia (44,676 enrolled), South Carolina (24,116), Georgia (58,611), and Tennessee (36,250). Only states like Florida and Texas with many more uninsured people than North Carolina are enrolling anywhere near our raw numbers, and they are far behind us in the percentage of uninsured getting coverage. [Read more]