In a bipartisan move, our neighbor to the north voted to expand Medicaid, making it the 33rd state to take advantage of Obamacare. Four hundred thousand people in Virginia who lack health insurance will now be covered. Put this win in the elections-have-consequences box. While Democrats failed to capture either house of the legislature, they came close enough that a number of Republicans crossed the aisle to get the job done.

North Carolina would be wise to follow suit. As one Republican from southwest Virginia said, the move will stabilize rural hospitals that are under threat. In other words, it’s good for people whether they’re on Medicaid or not. Besides, it will pump billions of dollars into the state’s economy and help areas that are still struggling.

North Carolina would be wise to follow suit. Medicaid expansion has broad support across the country and a number of other states are about to put the issue on the ballot. If we don’t expand Medicaid, our tax dollars will subsidize states that do. Besides, the economic benefits of Obamacare are becoming clear.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid expansion had positive economic effects on states, providers and recipients. Not only does the number of uninsured people fall, but those people who are covered find greater economic and financial stability. Despite the increase in the number of Medicaid recipients states see cost savings by offsetting “state costs related to behavioral health services, crime and the criminal justice system, and Supplemental Security Income program costs.”  Also, cost of recipients decreases when states expand Medicaid. In addition, hospitals, clinics and providers see fewer uncompensated costs which helps account for lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for consumers in states where Medicaid is expanded. In a state that’s seen too many rural areas lose access to care, expansion seems a no-brainer.

North Carolina Republicans who are resisting Medicaid expansion for ideological reasons need to stop. They’re reducing access to care and costing consumers more money in health care costs. They need to do what’s best for the people of the state and join Virginia and a host of other GOP-led states and provide health care to people who lack it. It’s good for the economy, for the recipients and for the providers.

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