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Medicaid Conversation Gains Steam In North Carolina


The head of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is speaking out in support of expanding Medicaid in the state.

Brad Wilson is President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

“As business leaders of North Carolina, you need to help us craft a solution to expand Medicaid," said Wilson.

Wilson tossed out that charge during this week’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park, sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. 

Reports show 500,000 mostly low-income people in the state would have health care if Medicaid was expanded.

Reports show 500,000 mostly low-income people in the state would have health care if Medicaid was expanded.  These are people who are not eligible for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Wilson told business, government and community leaders it’s time for a North Carolina solution to the Medicaid problem.

“Now people of good will can disagree over this and a lot of other subjects relevant to health care," said Wilson.  "But I believe that Medicaid and expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do for North Carolinians.”

Looking at fiscal advantages

Wilson cited a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report in his speech that said there are "fiscal advantages" for states like North Carolina to expand Medicaid.  He said North Carolina lost out on $1.1 billion in Medicaid funds because of the decision not to expand the program.

"That spells pain for many of our hospitals and many of our doctors," said Wilson.

Medicaid has been a touchy topic in the General Assembly.  Governor Pat McCrory has moved closer to supporting Medicaid expansion, despite little movement in the legislature.

Wilson said he was encouraged to hear McCrory will use his trip to Washington, DC this week to contemplate Medicaid expansion. 

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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