Making the Medicaid Expansion Decision
Last week Katie Benston (our Chief Program Officer) and I attended the Families USA Health Action 2013 conference in Washington, DC.
We heard from elected officials -- including Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow -- about how the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. I had the opportunity to talk with the legislative affairs leaders for our own Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, as well as key health care aids for Representatives Mel Watt and Robert Pittenger.
We'll have much more to share on what we learned and how we can be more effective as advocates and leaders on health care issues impacting lower income folks.
While the conference was inspirational and provided excellent advice on multiple issues related to health care for lower income people, the week took a decided turn upon learning about plans for the future in North Carolina.
While many states are moving forward in creating state-based marketplace exchanges and expanding Medicaid to those with the greatest need, we were saddened to learn during our trip that North Carolina is on the precipice of deciding to allow the federal government to run our marketplace and that they are prepared to reject expansion of Medicaid to those most in need.
By not expanding Medicaid to the poorest among us, North Carolinians with the greatest financial challenges will continue to face the greatest obstacles in establishing and maintaining good health.
In the coming months Care Ring will lead a conversation with our political, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders on the real impact of this decision -- what it means not only for the health of our people but also what it means for how our community must come together to support those in need.