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Press release from WNC Health Advocates, shared March 12:

ASHEVILLE – WNC Health Advocates presents Rally to Expand Medicaid at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Pritchard Park.

Recently, the N.C. General Assembly voted to reject the Medicaid expansion provided for in the Affordable Care Act; Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill behind closed doors.

In rejecting the expansion, North Carolina turns down more than $10 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years, and it leaves more than a half million of its citizens without access to health care.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, all people with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level (about $14,000 for an individual) would be eligible for Medicaid. The cost is carried 100 percent by federal money for the first three years. Eventually, states’ copays on the expansion would rise to just 10 percent.

In addition, the expansion would bring an estimated 24,000 jobs to North Carolina.

Our state will still pay into Medicaid, but the money intended for the expansion will go to other states.

“This is not a fiscally sound decision, nor is it the moral thing to do,” said Leslie Boyd, president of WNC Health Advocates. “The emergency room is not enough; people will die.”

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The signing of the bill is not the end of the fight, though. The General Assembly can revisit the issue before the end of June without losing any federal money.

“If we don’t get together and make some noise, how can we expect our elected officials know what we want?” Boyd said.

Angie Newsome

Angie Newsome is the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at anewsome@carolinapublicpress.org.

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