Prolonging Pandemic-Driven Impacts and Dire State of Health in Communities Across the State Due to a Lack of Adequate Access
RALEIGH, NC – November 16, 2021 – Late yesterday the North Carolina Legislature released their final budget that failed to include provisions to increase Medicaid eligibility in the state, despite the recent financial incentives of $1.2 billion in federal funding for the state if such action was taken.
The below is a statement on behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in reaction and can be attributed to North Carolina Government Relations Director, Derwin Montgomery.
“We’re disappointed by the Legislature’s failure to act on an issue that is critical to saving lives from cancer and other chronic diseases, especially when considering the clear statewide need and strong bipartisan public support for the program. We are gravely concerned about what this inaction will mean for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who continue to lack healthcare access at this crucial moment in public health.
“Medicaid expansion can provide those who are newly uninsured as a result of the pandemic with a clear path to comprehensive health coverage to help ensure they can access the necessary services to prevent, diagnosis and treat cancer. More than that, it would have been key to significantly decreasing the health inequities we see in our rural communities and communities of color.
“This marks yet another session the Legislature has failed its constituents, concerned parents and cancer patients who have made their voice heard as well as the hardworking North Carolinians who continue to lack adequate access to care, many of whom have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.
“Our progress in reducing the high cancer burden in the state rests heavily on the ability of our Legislature to provide access to adequate and affordable care for low-income families. We are eager to work with lawmakers next session to ensure that type of lifesaving action for North Carolinians.”
Currently, 40% of uninsured individuals in the state fall within the ‘coverage gap’ – not making enough money to afford private health insurance and making too much to qualify for Medicaid.
This year, nearly 64,000 North Carolinians will be diagnosed with cancer and far too many will be uninsured when they receive this devastating news.