You don't have to look far to see that many in North Carolina - approximately 500,000 - are struggling from an absence of adequate, high quality health insurance. This is why Person Memorial Hospital, as part of its mission of making communities healthier, is supporting bipartisan efforts by Gov. Roy Cooper and legislators from both parties in the General Assembly to expand Medicaid. If North Carolina were to expand Medicaid, access to affordable insurance coverage would become available to the most vulnerable in North Carolina, including many in rural communities like ours.
Currently, many uninsured North Carolinians are reliant on emergency rooms in hospitals for their health care needs. Instead, our state should expand insurance coverage to allow these individuals and families access to appropriate care through a primary care physician. This will help them get the care they need at the right time and in the appropriate setting, which will improve health outcomes and build a stronger North Carolina.
Now is the time to address this critical need impacting our family, friends and neighbors. We hope that you will join us and encourage Representative Larry Yarborough and Senator Mike Woodard to support efforts to expand Medicaid in North Carolina, including "NC Health Care for Working Families" (HB 655) which is currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly.
In a round table discussion with Gov. Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, early childhood professionals from across North Carolina, including two from Salisbury, shared stories of how the health care coverage gap is negatively affecting their colleagues.
Cassandra Brown and Dora Wood, both Salisbury early childhood teachers, joined nine others to speak about their concerns about the lack of access to health care among early childhood educators and urged legislators to expand Medicaid.
"We place a lot of trust and responsibility in the hands of early childhood educators, and it's heartbreaking to hear about how many of them can't afford health care," Cooper said in a news release last week. "Our child care and pre-K teachers should be healthy so they can focus on preparing our children for lifelong learning, and it's time we expanded Medicaid to help half a million North Carolinians access affordable health care."
Nineteen percent of early childhood educators in North Carolina do not have health insurance. A median hourly income of $9.86 coupled with the high cost of health care means that they are often unable to access the care they need.
In February, Cooper hosted a statewide Early Childhood Summit where he released the NC Early Childhood Action Plan. The plan provides a framework to galvanize coordinated, statewide public-private action to achieve 10 measurable goals for young children that address health, safety, family resilience and learning outcomes.
In a round table discussion with Governor Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen this week, early childhood professionals from across North Carolina shared stories of how the health care coverage gap is negatively affecting their colleagues. Attendees expressed concern that too many early childhood educators without access to health care are living with and dying from preventable diseases, and they urged legislators to expand Medicaid.
"We place a lot of trust and responsibility in the hands of early childhood educators, and it's heartbreaking to hear about how many of them can't afford health care," said Governor Cooper. "Our child care and pre-K teachers should be healthy so they can focus on preparing our children for lifelong learning, and it's time we expanded Medicaid to help half a million North Carolinians access affordable health care."
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Governor Roy Cooper and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen listened to the health care concerns of childcare providers during a round table discussion at the Andrews-London House in Raleigh Wednesday.
Democratic Governor Cooper touted Medicaid expansion, which would benefit half a million people in the state, during the event.
"Thirty-seven other states have done it," Governor Cooper said to the childcare providers. "They've seen the benefits of more people being covered."
"I can't go to a primary care and pay $150 to $200," said Eryka Plocki, during the round table discussion.
Plocki is an early childhood teacher in Wake Forest. The mother of four said she makes too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to pay for her own health insurance.
"For someone that works as hard as I do, that shouldn't be an issue, especially someone who takes care of your child or grandchild or nephew or niece," Plocki said. "I take care of them and I don't even have the means to take care of myself in some ways."
Cassandra Brooks owns two "Little Believer's Academy" child care centers in Garner and Clayton. She said two teachers who worked there didn't have health coverage and died.
She believes coverage could have helped keep them healthy. Now, she's trying to push for more coverage.
"God has given me that mission to push and try to help those working families," Brooks said. "They need insurance and they need to be able to see a doctor."
"[Medicaid] will attract more providers to our state," Governor Cooper said. "For example, we don't have enough mental health treatment centers. We don't have enough centers that treat substance use disorder and people that are addicted to opioids. We've seen in other states, that when we expand Medicaid, that provides more compensation for providers. It attracts more of those to come into the state to provide those services for the people because we have the money to pay them."
Ashe Memorial Hospital, Chatham Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, Erlanger Western North Carolina, Henderson County Hospital Corporation, J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital, Johnston Health Services Corporation, Nash UNC Health Care, North Carolina Healthcare Association, Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center, Novant Health Charlotte Orthopedic Hospital, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center, Novant Health Kernersville Medical Center, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, Novant Health Southern Piedmont Region, Onslow Memorial Hospital, Outer Banks Hospital, Randolph Health, UNC Caldwell, University of North Carolina Health Care System, WakeMed