Jen Mangrum has a disabled brother who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. After losing his job, being unable to work, and fighting for disability pay, she learned first hand that not everyone can visit a doctor when they need to. Jen believes ALL our citizens need access to healthcare and those who already have insurance need for it to be affordable. A little over 11% of our citizens lack insurance, which is higher than nearly every other state. About 500,000 North Carolinians have no access to healthcare because our senator, Phil Berger, has blocked expansion of a program (Medicaid) that provides care for people who are low-income and disabled. Most recipients of Medicaid (60%) are working and have full time jobs. The rest are disabled, are caregivers, or are in school. The Federal budget would pay for 90% of the cost of expanding coverage for them. Expanding access would have the added benefit of creating 43,000 jobs in our state, half in healthcare (at Annie Penn and Cone Health, for example) and the rest in other sectors. In addition, expanding Medicaid would help sustain our hospitals. Phil Berger is hurting people and for some it is life or death.
It defies logic, common sense and decency not to expand access to healthcare and boost our economy at the same time. Thirty-one other states have expanded their Medicaid programs, including ones with Republican governors (including Mike Pence’s state.) Each of us in North Carolina pays federal tax dollars which funds Medicaid coverage in other states that have expanded coverage.
Expansion would have an additional benefit of keeping down insurance premiums for those who have health insurance, because cost shifting of uncompensated care to insured patients would no longer occur. Continuing to block Medicaid expansion in NC is pointlessly cruel and ignorant. Phil Berger isn’t being smart about access to healthcare. Apparently, he loves political gamesmanship more than he loves his own constituents.