Source: Asheville Citizen-Times

Advocates from organizations across North Carolina joined for a virtual forum calling for Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. The need is particularly acute given the loss of health care and employment in recent months, advocates say

Care4Carolina, a group advocating for affordable health care in North Carolina, says that “tens of thousands” fall into the coverage gap: making too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance.

According to some estimates, more than half a million North Carolinians stand to gain coverage if North Carolina expands Medicaid. Care4Carolina estimates 178,000 additional residents are in the coverage gap in the months since COVID-19 arrived, the Asheville Citizen-Times reports.

“With the devastation of this pandemic, it has really starkly highlighted for us the shortcomings of what an employment-based health insurance system that we have does for us,” Dr. Richard Hudspeth, CEO of Blue Ridge Health, said.

Medicaid expansion would also be a boon to the state’s economy, with a recent study pointing to nearly 40,000 jobs and billions of dollars in growth in gross county product.

“Even if the numbers aren’t perfect, they’re significant enough that even if we take a more conservative approach, it’s still a big impact, especially now when our counties are really hurting for revenue,” Jason Gray, senior fellow for research and policy at the NC Rural Center, told the paper.

Read the full story from the Asheville Citizen-Times.