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Updated Medicaid Report Released As NC Legislators Battle Over State Budget

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Courtesy of Harris Regional Hospital
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Decreasing the burden of uncompensated care bills at hospitals is one of the benefits of Medicaid Expansion cited in the report.

  Both chambers of the General Assembly are set to vote on a budget agreement crafted by Republican leaders.  Governor Roy Cooper seems likely to veto it when it reaches his desk, however, as it does not contain Medicaid expansion.  That has been a chief goal for the governor and his fellow Democrats.  

 

Here’s more on a report out today in support of expanded Medicaid. 

 

The report commissioned by two state foundations and completed by economists at George Washington University explains expected revenues to North Carolina are now lower because the state has lost out on funding for the last five years. However, it still estimates over $11 billion in federal funding would come to the state in two years if Medicaid is expanded in 2020. 

 

Dr. Laura Gerald is president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, one of the organizations that commissioned the survey. She says that the main point of the report is that delaying expansion delays access to opportunities that Medicaid provides.

 

“What we know if that if you don’t have health insurance then it’s really hard to access health services and really hard to stay healthy,” says Gerald. 

 

The report claims over 37,000 jobs would be created across the state including over 2,300 in Western North Carolina. Over 43,000 additional people would be covered by Medicaid in the state’s 13 westernmost counties if coverage were expanded. That means hospitals would have fewer uncompensated care bills to pay according to the report.

 

Gerald says that the report is not meant to be political. 

 

“Regardless of which side of the political aisle or debate you are on to me, expanding medicaid makes sense from a humanitarian and economic perspective,” says Gerald. 

 

Republicans in the past have been steadfast against expanding Medicaid. In the current budget negotiations GOP leaders have accused the governor of not giving them specific counter-offers to their spending plans.

 

The current deadline for budget ratification is July 1.

 

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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