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RALEIGH, NC — Last night, Missouri voters approved Medicaid expansion, becoming the 38th state in the country to do so and expanding health care to more than 230,000 Missourians.
The list of states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion is becoming lonelier and lonelier as North Carolina still hasn’t expanded Medicaid, leaving 634,000 North Carolinians in the coverage gap during a global pandemic.
As Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis blocked Medicaid expansion, bragged about it, and continues to defend his choice, even as hundreds of thousands have lost their health care due to COVID-19, remain out of work, and stand to benefit from a measure that he blocked. In the Senate, he’s repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and with it, the ability for states to expand Medicaid.
“In the midst of a pandemic, the need to expand Medicaid has never been greater for the people of North Carolina, and because of Senator Tillis’ action to block expansion as Speaker, our families are being denied health care,” said Cal Cunningham. “Without the care they deserve, families and folks finding themselves out of a job due to COVID-19 are even more vulnerable during this public health crisis. If Senator Tillis cares about the health of his constituents, he should take a hint from the states adopting expansion, admit he was wrong as Speaker, and incentivize North Carolina to expand Medicaid now.”
Missouri’s vote late last night proves that voters, even in red states, see the urgent need to expand health care and defied Republican leaders to get it done. Politico notes in their reporting of the vote that “[n]o state has ever voted down such a ballot initiative in recent years, underscoring the popularity of Medicaid expansion even in parts of the country hostile to Obamacare.”
The News & Observer has reported on the central role health care is playing in the North Carolina Senate race, saying “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.” Cal has also 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.