Letter to the editor: LeGrand supports Medicaid Expansion

Published 10:13 am Thursday, September 24, 2020

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To the editor:

In over 40 years of practicing family medicine in Davie County, one of my hopes has been that all people would eventually have access to affordable health care. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) extended health care coverage to millions of Americans who did not have access to coverage through their employers and could not afford to buy individual policies. Medicaid provides coverage for the truly poor and disabled.

Unfortunately, in North Carolina there are at least 500,000 of our neighbors whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid but are too low to qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Now, with COVID-19 job losses, that number may be as high as 700,000. Medicaid Expansion would allow for most of those folks to have coverage. North Carolina is one of only about 12 states that have yet to expand Medicaid. This is nearly unconscionable.

Medicaid Expansion not only will improve access to health care, it will bring $5 billion into our state’s economy and add approximately 35,000 new jobs. The state would have essentially no added costs for Medicaid Expansion as 90 percent is paid by the federal government (with taxes that we have already paid) and 10 percent by health care providers in North Carolina (hospitals and provider groups).

Joyce Kraweic has stood with the majority leadership in the NC Legislature in opposing Medicaid Expansion for years. Not expanding Medicaid has cost our state billions of federal dollars, thousands of jobs and, most importantly, an unknown number of lives (studies show that states that have expanded Medicaid have overall lower rates of death from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease).

Terri LeGrand supports Medicaid Expansion as I do.  That is one of the many reasons that I support Terri LeGrande for NC Senate District 31. Please consider the health and well-bing of your neighbors when you vote this fall and vote for Terri LeGrand for NC Senate.

Joel Edwards, MD