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Dear Governor McCrory,
As healthcare providers and students across the state of North Carolina, we strongly urge you to oppose Senate Bill 4 and instead demonstrate support for Medicaid expansion as outlined in the Affordable Care Act.
As physicians, health professionals, and students from across North Carolina, we're counting on you because:
1) We need Medicaid expansion to be able to care for 650,000 North Carolina residents. We chose to enter the medical profession because of a desire to prevent and heal unnecessary suffering with knowledge and compassion. However, as much as we would like to, we lack the ability to provide needed care to patients with limited means to pay. Medicaid expansion will allow us to provide care for over 5% of North Carolina's population
2) The Medicaid Expansion makes economic sense for North Carolina. The Medicaid expansion will save North Carolina $65.4 Billion dollars over the next eight years as other safety net programs become less necessary. Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina will create 23,000 high paying, permanent jobs for North Carolinians and the total economic impact of the Medicaid expansion is estimated at $1.4 billion. Expanding Medicaid isn’t only the right moral decision; it is the right business decision to make for North Carolina.
3) We believe in our patients over politics. While many members of the General Assembly may feel very strongly about the Affordable Care Act, ideological opposition should not prevent North Carolina from improving the health of its citizens. Republican administrations in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Ohio realize this and North Carolina should as well. As Ohio’s Governor Kasich said as he announced his support for the expansion "I, as all of you know, am not a supporter of Obamacare. But I think this makes great sense for the state of Ohio."
At the same time, many policymakers have expressed concern that expanding Medicaid could threaten the long-term financial status of the state if federal funding decreases. These concerns have been addressed by other Governors such as Jan Brewer of Arizona. Governor Brewer, and many others, has signaled their intent to expand Medicaid conditional upon a level of federal funding that does not damage state assets.
4) We believe that expansion would result in a more efficient and effective health system. Medicaid expansion would help us provide basic care – including annual check-ups and cancer screenings – that is critical in preventing major health complications and reining in the costs of healthcare. At the same time, refusal to accept federal funds could pose major threats to the financial status of our hospital systems. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals are depending on increased Medicaid funds to offset the costs of uncompensated care and a decrease in financial support for Medicare. If we don’t expand Medicaid, many of our hospitals, particularly those in rural areas, will be at risk of closing. This will result in patients traveling longer distances to fewer hospitals which will increase wait times and result in overcrowding.
5) We believe that now more than ever, it is crucial to renew our commitment to mental health. In the wake of national tragedies related to gun violence and their subsequent national dialogues, it is important to expand access to mental health. Medicaid is currently the single largest payer for mental health services in the US, and expansion will help many citizens receive needed care. Additionally, many North Carolinians currently depend on mental health institutions for routine assistance such as medication management -- which the Department of Justice has ordered NC to stop supporting. Medicaid expansion will help finance the development of community mental health clinics that can support patients transitioning away from mental health institutions.
6) We want healthcare in North Carolina to reflect our collective moral and ethical values. We believe that all North Carolina citizens should have equal opportunity to pursue happiness in our great state -- and as physicians, we are eager and ready to play our role by providing North Carolinians with high quality healthcare. We urge you to give us the opportunity to carry out our mission.
Please consider our patients, family members, and neighbors as you weigh the important decision of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the impact of the Medicaid expansion on healthcare providers and their patients.
North Carolina Chapter
Doctors for America