There is little dispute that Medicaid expansion stands to benefit more than 400,000 uninsured North Carolinians who currently fall in the coverage gap. What is more often disputed is the potential cost to the state. Under the established matching plan that would take effect from 2020 onward, federal funding would pay 90% of the cost of those enrolled under expanded Medicaid eligibility, while the state pays no more than 10% (compared to the 66% to 34% federal to state matching that covers those currently enrolled). While the expansion ratio is certainly more favorable for state spending, concerns have persisted over the additional state cost. But the numbers are in.
As North Carolina continues to reject $4.9 million per day in federal funding, 39 other states have expanded Medicaid, enabling us to learn from their experiences. Expansion states have experienced rates of uninsured cut in half. They’ve seen three times the growth rate in health care jobs as states not expanding. Hospitals in expansion states are treating fewer uninsured patients. With the increased flow of federal dollars, tax revenues are also up in these states.
According to a January report from Wake Forest University’s School of Law, expansion in North Carolina would create 20,000 to 40,000 new jobs or more while also leading to increased tax revenues. Expansion would cover more than $230 million on mental health services that North Carolina currently covers in full. For every one dollar NC spends on expansion, nine additional dollars would come into the state providing a great return on our investment in the form of a strong economic stimulus. North Carolina’s income taxes are already going to fund expansion nationally, and yet we are not reaping any of the benefits.
Without expansion, affordable coverage in North Carolina is in a tenuous place. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson recently reported uncertainty about staying in the ACA marketplace for 2017 because of decreasing company profits. According to the News & Observer, Wilson and NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin both agree that the ACA would be more financially stable if Medicaid were expanded in North Carolina to accept more people, something our state’s legislature has continued to reject.
Several groups around the state have mobilized to urge our legislature to accept the federal funding and expand coverage, thereby experiencing the benefits of our tax dollars. Join us in this effort by organizing an interactive presentation and Q & A session for your congregation and provide an important opportunity to explore the issue from a social justice as well as an economic perspective.
Schedule a presentation today by contacting Liz Millar, Medicaid Expansion Project Coordinator at email@example.com or 609-464-3415.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40