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As 350,000 North Carolinians are filing for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with their jobs many could also lose health insurance and have limited ways to get health care coverage due to the fact that the state hasn’t yet expanded Medicaid.
According to reporting from Axios, “roughly 3.5 million Americans likely lost their health insurance just in the past two weeks” after becoming unemployed. Despite that fact, the Administration appears to be dead set on making it harder for Americans to sign up for Obamacare, announcing this week that it will not re-open enrollment in response to the pandemic.
Politico wrote that, “People losing their workplace coverage have some insurance options outside of the law’s marketplaces. They can extend their employer plan for up to 18 months through COBRA, but that’s an especially pricey option. Medicaid is also an option for low-income adults in about two-thirds of states that have adopted Obamacare’s expansion of the program.” Earlier this week, Vice President Pence also used Medicaid as an excuse for the Administration’s wrong-headed decision.
Unfortunately for the hundreds of thousands of newly jobless North Carolinians, without expanding Medicaid, there are limited options for many families that now find themselves without health care in the middle of a public health crisis. And our state’s rural hospitals, which are already struggling to stay open, are now being stretched to their limits.
Instead of expanding health coverage to 600,000 North Carolinians that fall in the gap by expanding Medicaid, Thom Tillis voted to block it as Speaker of the House. In times of crisis or not, we need leaders that will work to stabilize the health care system and maximize the long-term health of North Carolinians. That means keeping our rural hospitals in business and ensuring people are able to get health coverage, even if they lose their job.
For North Carolina, the case for Medicaid expansion has never been stronger, and there’s only one candidate in the Senate race that would advocate for it. Cal Cunningham is committed to protecting and expanding health care for North Carolinians, including calling on state legislators to do the right thing by expanding Medicaid.
By Bob Herman – April 2, 2020
Roughly 3.5 million Americans likely lost their health insurance just in the past two weeks, according to an analysis of state and federal data from the Economic Policy Institute. That’s over one-third of the people who have filed unemployment claims.
Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic is wiping away people’s jobs and health insurance at the same time people are at risk of contracting a deadly disease, and in the process is exposing the flaws of tying health coverage to employment. Medicaid will pick up a lot of these people.