As part of the News & Observer & Charlotte Observer’s look at how the state is doing heading toward the Nov. 8 election, the papers are doing great work looking at health issues in the state.
From today’s piece on the thousands of North Carolinians who lack health insurance:
North Carolina is below the median but has risen five places since 1990 in a ranking of states’ overall health, compiled by United Health Foundation, based on an analysis of behavior, community and environmental conditions, policies and clinical care data.
The state’s increase in the obesity rate has slowed recently, bringing it almost even with the national average. There has been a slow reduction in infant mortality, following a national trend, but the state still trails the U.S. average. And as for primary care doctors per 100,000 people, the state is below the national average despite slight gains across the board in the past 10 years.
Finally, North Carolina’s percentage of people without health coverage, once better than the U.S. average, is now more than two points worse.
That statistic is related to the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid. States that chose to expand saw a 42 percent drop in their uninsured rates from 2013 to 2015. In North Carolina, the drop was 28 percent. About 13 percent of non-elderly adults in the state remain uninsured, compared with 10 percent nationwide.
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act – dubbed Obamacare – the law called for covering most impoverished citizens by expanding Medicaid in all states. But two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court made that provision optional for the states.
North Carolina and South Carolina are among 19 states – most led by Republicans – that have declined to expand Medicaid, leaving the poorest of the poor – like Messenger – with few options for health care.
Definitely take the time to read the entire piece.