Not Expanding Medicaid in NC Will Send $10B of Taxpayer Money To Other States

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It seems like every week there is a new study that highlights, in stark terms, the massive costs our state faces for not expanding Medicaid. Thousands of jobs and billions of dollars that should come to North Carolina won't because politicians in Raleigh prefer to play political games. Now a new report shows that North Carolina taxpayers will pay $10 billion to other states to provide health care for their citizens. From the Charlotte Observer article,

North Carolina taxpayers could spend more than $10 billion by 2022 to provide medical care for low-income residents of other states while getting nothing in return, a McClatchy Newspapers analysis shows.

The Affordable Care Act tried to expand Medicaid to millions of low-income, uninsured adults. But many Republican-led states, including both Carolinas, opted out of the plan championed by President Barack Obama.

If the 23 states still rejecting Medicaid expansion stick with that decision, they’ll contribute $152 billion over 10 years to states that take the federal money, the analysis shows. North Carolina would be one of the top five contributors.

Pennsylvania, which originally said no, got approval last week to use federal money for its own variation on Medicaid expansion, one that extends subsidies for private insurance to cover up to 600,000 of the state’s poorest adults. Arkansas and Iowa are using a similar approach.

Don Taylor, an associate professor of public policy at Duke University, has been quietly pushing his own version of that plan for North Carolina. He says refusing the federal money results in “the redistribution of money from poorer states to richer ones, an outcome imposed by the poorer states upon themselves.”

McClatchy analyzed data from the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that has advised states on the Affordable Care Act.

Taxpayer contributions, estimated at $10.2 billion from North Carolina and $3.1 billion from South Carolina, won’t change regardless of participation. But as things stand, only the 27 states (along with Washington, D.C.) that expanded Medicaid or created their own programs are sharing in the benefits.

 

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