As of June 20, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accepting public comments on the North Carolina Medicaid reform plan (Section 1115 demonstration) application. The comment period ends July 20, 2016, at 11:00 p.m.
A local coalition of partners which supports Medicaid expansion urges local residents to provide comments on the issue. Some of the coalition partners include: the United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County, the WNC AIDS Project, Pisgah Legal Services, the League of Women Voters of Asheville-Buncombe County, the League of Women Voters of Hendersonville, Children First/Communities in Schools, Carolina Jews for Justice, Mountain Area Health Education Center, Just Us United, Western North Carolina Community Health Services, Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement, Blue Ridge Community Health Services and the North Carolina Justice Center.
In an email, the coalition provided the following information:
Link to Reform page: http://www.ncdhhs.gov/nc-medicaid-reformLink to comments submission at https://public.medicaid.gov/connect.ti/public.comments/view?objectId=1886531(Note: the submission portal is actually under “Answer the Questionnaire” which is not self-explanatory)Here are some bullet points for the costs of not expanding Medicaid:
- 1 in 5 adults under 65 remains uninsured in NC (around 500,000)
- Not expanding Medicaid is already hindering job creation and economic growth because NC is not capturing billions in federal matching dollars that would otherwise flow into the state economy to make expansion more affordable.
- If NC does not expand Medicaid by 2016, $21 billion in federal matching funds will be lost between 2016 and 2020.
- Statewide, about half the jobs not created would be in health care (hospitals and clinics); almost half would be in other sectors such as construction or retail and wholesale trade.
- Small hospitals and clinics have had to close–particularly affecting rural poor.Non-economic reasons to expand Medicaid:
- When parents are insured, their children are more likely to be insured and they are better able to care for their children.
- By not closing the gap, the cycle of poverty and sickness continues. Consequences of families falling into crisis because of a lack of health coverage and a medical crisis include foreclosures and evictions- having to make the decision to pay the rent or pay for much needed medication.
Editor’s note: According to Jennifer Wehe-Davis, network director for the organization, Community Care of Western North Carolina is not a member of the coalition.