New report details benefits of closing the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina

nci-vol-2174-300The White House Council of Economic Advisers released a report today detailing the health and economic consequences of refusing to accept federal Medicaid money to expand insurance coverage in North Carolina.

If the state accepted federal funds we could provide insurance coverage to 377,000 more people. This influx of federal money would also create jobs and boost our economy. And reducing our uninsured rate would have salutary impacts on the lives of those able to obtain affordable health care.

For example: 27,000 women would gain access to to recommended health screenings; 90,000 people would gain access to a medical home; 50,000 more people would report that they are in good health. The individual financial impacts are no less dramatic. Closing the coverage gap here would mean 17,000 fewer families facing catastrophic medical bills and 53,600 fewer people borrowing money to finance their health needs.

Some claim that North Carolina can’t afford to extend health coverage to more people. When you look at the numbers it’s clear that we can’t afford not to expand coverage. In 2014 the state is giving up $2.7 billion in federal funds. In 2015 that increases to $3.2 billion. In 2016 it’s $3.6 billion. In 2014 we could create 8,700 jobs. In 2015 we could create 19,400 jobs. If a private company or a new military base opened in North Carolina that created 19,000 jobs, politicians would be elbowing each other to get to the ribbon cutting.

The Council of Economic Advisers calls the decision to refuse new Medicaid funds a “missed opportunity.” That’s an understatement; it’s more like a terrible shame.



  1. Alex

    July 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    The problem Adam is that the federal government really doesn’t have that money to give to us. It has to be borrowed, and put on the backs of our children and grandchildren. The load of entitlements we have already created puts us in a deficit of $50 Billion Dollars a month. The Social security disability fund is broke, Medicare runs out in 2026,and Social Security runs out in 2033. Even the Highway Trust fund is now broke so where does the road money come from.The thought that we can double the cost of Medicaid every 10 years is nothing but a pipe dream.

  2. Adam Linker

    July 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Medicare doesn’t “run out” in 2026, SS doesn’t “run out” in 2033, and the money for Medicaid isn’t borrowed. Otherwise, right on.

  3. Alex

    July 2, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Unless there is entitlement reform, projections say that both Medicare and Social Security cannot be funded at the current level starting in those years. Where do you think that money will come from to fund new Medicaid recipients? It’s basic math Adam, and doesn’t even factor in the demographics of an aging population and a shrinking work force.

  4. Alex

    July 2, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Recent Wall St Journal article :

    “The scale of the American problem was set out with extraordinary clarity in a section-front essay feature printed in the Aug. 31 edition of The Wall Street Journal, wherein Nicholas Eberstadt wrote: “Even after adjusting for inflation and population growth, [U.S.] entitlement transfers to individuals have grown 727% over the past half-century, rising at an average rate of about 4% a year. In 2010 alone, government at all levels oversaw a transfer of over $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services. The burden of these entitlements came to slightly more than $7,200 for every person in America. Scaled against a notional family of four, the average entitlements burden for that year alone approached $29,000.”
    Reasonable people can argue about the morality of such a massive transfer scheme. (In the same issue of the Journal, William Galston provided an able defence). But it cannot be denied that, on the level of simple arithmetic, the current scheme is fiscally unsustainable. As Mr. Eberstadt notes, entitlements now account for about two thirds of all U.S. federal government spending — more than double the share in 1960. This is the main reason that the United States now has a massive institutionalized debt, and has little discretionary spending available for infrastructure. As a result, parts of the country are simply falling apart.

  5. Adam Linker

    July 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    The money in Medicaid comes from a variety of sources that are outlined in the statute, which is basic law, I guess, not necessarily just math. I realize no amount of data will pull you out of this rabbit hole, but saying without changes Medicare won’t be able to cover hospital services at current levels starting in 2026 is a wee bit different than saying it will run out of money.

  6. gregflynn

    July 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    “Recent Wall St Journal article” of course means an article written October 2012 by Canadian journalist Jonathan Kay writing in the Canadian newspaper National Post about Canadian entitlements and making comparisons with the US using a reference to a WSJ article. http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/10/29/jonathan-kay-canada-has-avoided-a-u-s-style-entitlements-crisis-but-thomas-mulcair-wants-to-change-that/

  7. LayintheSmakDown

    July 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    It is intellectually dishonest to say the Medicaid money is not borrowed. Regardless of the “source” or how you want to shift it around, it all will go to pay debtors at some point because since the Barry Obama regime took over the government borrows about 40% of the dollars it spends (average of about $1.2 trillion of each $3.5 trillion budget). I guess you could say that “only” 40% of dollars are borrowed, but that is still an unsustainable trajectory.

  8. Alex

    July 3, 2014 at 6:27 am

    It always amazes me that most progressives have no clue as to how entitlement programs are funded. The thought that “Medicaid funding comes from different sources as outlined in the statutes” is both simplistic and totally wrong. The funding for Medicaid expansion will come from borrowed money by the Federal government for a number of years, and at some point will have to come from the North Carolina taxpayers. There is no free ride, and no magical source for these funds.

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