NC refuses Medicaid expansion and Wilkes County hurts – badly

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.12.16 AMYou could tell this story in any one of the most rural counties in North Carolina. From the Wilkes Journal-Patriot in a stunning story yesterday:

Over half of the 898 people who contacted a temporary counselor in Wilkes County for help in signing up for health insurance during the first federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment period didn’t qualify.

Most of these 512 people unable to get insurance with reduced premiums through the ACA didn’t qualify because their incomes were below the federal poverty level, said Wilkes Health Department Director Ann Absher. Minimum annual income for a single person to qualify is $11,490. It’s $23,550 for a family of four.

Here at the NC Justice Center we hear similar stories every time we go to the more rural parts of our state. Most recently we heard the difficulty health assisters have in Beaufort County when they have to tell people they are “too poor” to get coverage.  It’s easy for Governor Pat McCrory and some NC legislators to be glib about why they refused the billions of dollars in federal money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.  But I’d like to require them to have to personally answer the poor, hardworking folks they denied health coverage to this year. Maybe then they wouldn’t be smiling quite so broadly as they are in the photo below.

Medicaid bill sign2 - Version 2

2 Comments

  1. Josh

    April 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Wasn’t there a surplus of $700 million in Medicaid/care before it was plundered to create the ACA. Republicans see this as a fiscal issue. The expansion money only comes into the state for a few years and then the state that accepts that money has to take over and fund it from there on out. The ACA which claimed that it would give everyone affordable healthcare needs to fill this gap and quit blaming republicans for the frankenbastard they created. You have to ask yourself if the original $700 million wasn’t taken away would you even need these expansions

  2. Alan

    April 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Factually incorrect. Federal funding is 100% for 3 years, then reduces to 90% in 2020. To 90%, not by 90%. “the state that accepts that money has to take over and fund it from there on out” – not so.

    http://www.medicaid.gov/AffordableCareAct/Provisions/Financing.html