The benefits to North Carolina and its citizenry of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have been explained many times, but they definitely bear repeating again today — Medicaid Expansion Lobby Day at the General Assembly (click here  for details). Prof. Nancy MacLean of Duke University  does the honors with the following helpful and handy list:
If North Carolina Accepts Medicaid Expansion:
- 500,058 uninsured low-income North Carolinians would finally be protected by health insurance, many for the first time.
- Each year, 2,840 individuals will live, who would otherwise die due to lack of health care coverage. Doctors will be able to catch their cancers and other illnesses early enough to treat them effectively, and provide treatment for other life –threatening illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Each one of the people whose lives will continue is a mother or father, daughter or son, sister or brother, friend and neighbor, so their survival will enhance many thousands of other lives and spare them the grief of loss.
- $4.9 million per day would come to our state from the federal government, dollars that will help revive our economy
- Medicaid expansion would create nearly 25,000 new jobs by 2016. Why? Because the program will bring more than $15 billion in federal funds to our state’s health care providers and from their employees into local economies, boosting spending and employment.
- North Carolina’s state and local governments will save millions of dollars from not having to cover the costs of uninsured persons needing emergency care. (According to an NC Institute of Medicine Medicaid Brief, the state would save $65.4 million over the first eight years of expansion).
- State residents who already enjoy health care insurance will pay at least 2 percent lower premiums for private insurance than if the state rejects Medicaid expansion, due to cost shifting as unhealthier people buy subsidized insurance.
- North Carolina taxpayers would no longer be paying for people in other states to enjoy health care coverage, bolstering their health and economic well-being while our own state languishes. (That is because the federal government, with our tax dollars, funds the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years and then at least 90 percent of all future costs, so we pay to support the program elsewhere no matter what).
- Our state would join another Republican-controlled state, Arizona, which has made the fiscally sound and ethically correct choice to accept Medicaid Expansion.
- Our legislators would be doing the people’s will. According to the most recent, reliable poll (April 2014), North Carolinians support expanding Medicaid by 54-36.