In the Dec. 16 Point Point of View “How ‘free’ federal money costs North Carolina” about the costs of closing the health care coverage gap, the Civitas Institute, an organization ideologically opposed to expanding health coverage, uses a study to repeat a common misrepresentation that Medicaid expansion will result in higher than expected state and local spending.
The fact is, the federal government underwrites more than 90 percent of the cost for this expansion and that money will generate direct savings for local governments. Local governments will no longer have to bail out rural hospitals or find ways to increase taxes to pay for patients who should be covered by Medicaid.
More importantly, Civitas’ claims have nothing to do with increasing access to medical care or using federal dollars to generate revenue. We know from many studies, including the Cone Health Foundation and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, maximizing federal Medicaid resources and providing more health care will grow our economy and produce more than 43,000 jobs.
North Carolinians are already paying for not expanding Medicaid. Roughly 500,000 Americans cannot afford health insurance in our state. Helping working families access health care is not only good medicine, it’s good business.
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Margaret Sowerwine, PsyD
League of Women Voters NC