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by Rob Thompson

What would happen in your county, if North Carolina’s leaders expand Medicaid?

Every single county in North Carolina would gain jobs, and health coverage for significant numbers of uninsured people, according to a new report from the Cone Health Foundation. How does your county fare? Check out the report and interactive map to find out.

In far western NC, in Cherokee county 1,853 additional people would gain affordable health coverage. At the eastern end of the state, 13,188 people would gain coverage in New Hanover county, according to this new analysis.

NC Child supports expanding Medicaid because of the benefits to children. While the vast majority of children in North Carolina have health coverage, the same is not true for their parents and caregivers. Over 120,000 parents with children at home have no health coverage in North Carolina. In the 37 states that have expanded Medicaid since 2014, the results have been more economically stable families, decreased infant mortality rates, and fewer cases of child neglect.

From the Cone Health Foundation’s press release:

Expanding Medicaid would create more than 37,000 new jobs and insure approximately 365,000 more people, according to a new non-partisan analysis. The report was prepared by researchers at The George Washington University with funding from Cone Health Foundation and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust.

In addition to the new jobs created and the hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents gaining coverage, the researchers estimate that the state would increase its business activity by $11.7 billion in just three years, between 2020-2022. It’s money that could be spent on education, infrastructure and other needs.

“Medicaid expansion is a job creator and can extend health coverage to thousands of previously uninsured North Carolinians who are falling through the gaps in our current system,” said Susan Shumaker, president, Cone Health Foundation. “States that have already expanded Medicaid are better equipped to tackle critical health care concerns like opioid addiction and infant mortality rates, issues that need to be addressed here at home in North Carolina.”

The analysis updates a 2014 report, providing a county-by-county look at the number of jobs, new Medicaid enrollees and economic growth that would result from the state expanding Medicaid. With nearly one in six non-elderly adults in North Carolina uninsured (16%)—a rate that is above the national average (12%)—every county, urban or rural, stands to benefit. For example, both an urban county like Wake and a rural county like Burke will create jobs under Medicaid expansion, 4,076 and 456, respectively.

“This report confirms what we’re hearing from families across the state—increased access to quality health care and economic opportunities helps communities thrive, and research shows that expanding Medicaid delivers both,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president, Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “Every community stands to benefit from Medicaid expansion. The evidence shows that closing the Medicaid gap will improve population health, support vulnerable North Carolina families and boost the economy across the major sectors.”

North Carolina remains just one of 14 states yet to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and according to experts at The George Washington University, Medicaid eligibility requirements in North Carolina are the ninth most restrictive in the country. As a result, nearly 1 million North Carolinians between the ages of 19 and 64 are uninsured.

To read the full analysis and get the statistics for your county, visit www.NCMedicaidExpansion.com.

Rob Thompson is NC Child’s Deputy Director

Support NC Child’s work to ensure health and wellness for all NC’s children. Click here to make a donation today.

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