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Oklahoma Voted To Expand Medicaid Last Night. North Carolina Is Still Behind Thanks To Thom Tillis.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters approved a measure to expand Medicaid, allowing at least 200,000 adults to gain health care coverage. North Carolina is now one of only 13 states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid, leaving hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians without health care coverage. On top of that, North Carolina’s rural hospitals are struggling to stay afloat in the midst of a public health crisis.

You can thank Thom Tillis for that. Here’s why: 

As Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis blocked Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, preventing coverage of 634,000 North Carolinians today. Since then, he’s bragged about how  he “stopped Obama’s Medicaid expansion cold and about “making it illegal” to expand Medicaid in North Carolina. 

As the News & Observer reported yesterday, health care is a critical issue in the North Carolina Senate race and “Democrat Cal Cunningham has positioned himself as a defender of the law and proponent of Medicaid expansion in his race against Republican Sen. Thom Tillis.”

North Carolina is falling behind, and as more people become unemployed due to COVID-19, the coverage gap for health insurance will continue to grow. Cal Cunningham has repeatedly called on Congress to pass a Medicaid expansion incentive, to make sure states like North Carolina receive the 100 percent federal match regardless of when they expand. 

“We have even more North Carolinians without health coverage today than we did even several months ago,” Cunningham said. “And Medicaid is a tool, right in front of us, that is available for North Carolina to help close that gap.” 

North Carolina must follow in Oklahoma’s lead to expand Medicaid and the state is ready for a leader who will make that happen.

Politico: Oklahoma voters approve Medicaid expansion as coronavirus cases climb

By Rachel Roubein – July 1, 2020 

  • Oklahoma voters on Tuesday narrowly approved a ballot measure to extend Medicaid to tens of thousands of poor adults, making their state the first to expand government-backed health insurance during the pandemic.
  • The vote, which passed with 50.5 percent support, also throws a wrench in the Trump administration’s plan to make Oklahoma the first state to receive its permission to cap Medicaid spending, a longtime goal of conservatives hoping to constrain the safety-net entitlement program.
  • Ballot organizers said the coronavirus crisis would help make their case for expanding Medicaid in the deep-red state. The average number of new cases in Oklahoma has more than doubled in the past month, and the state reported a record 585 new infections on Tuesday.
  • Oklahoma has become the fifth state where voters defied Republican leaders to expand Medicaid through the ballot. Missouri will hold a similar vote on Medicaid expansion later this summer.
  • At least 200,000 Oklahoman adults will be newly eligible for Medicaid, but program enrollment may climb even higher as the state’s unemployment rate has surged to nearly 13 percent. The ballot measure requires the state to expand Medicaid by July 1, 2021.