WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

North Carolina needs Medicaid expansion

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It has been another busy week at the General Assembly. Many topics affecting the health care and well being of North Carolinians are highlighted in this newsletter.

I remain energized to continue to advocate on behalf of the citizens of North Carolina.

My office will continue to keep you informed. You can contact us by phone or email at: 919-733-5898 or Butterfieldla@ncleg.net.

MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

A recent report says states that have expanded Medicaid have seen infant mortality rates decline 50% more than in non-expansion states. Expanding Medicaid saves babies’ lives. It saves mothers’ lives. Closing the coverage gap leads to healthier lives. These are facts established by medical researchers.

Expanding Medicaid saves lives. Refusing to expand Medicaid costs lives.

Look again at North Carolina’s high infant mortality rate. If North Carolina could get to the national average, we would save over 1,000 babies’ lives every year. Unfortunately, legislators continue to block hearing the Medicaid expansion bill. The single best thing we can do to reduce the infant mortality rate and improve maternal health is to expand Medicaid.

Expanding Medicaid will close the coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of eastern North Carolina residents and bring thousands of health care jobs. No region of the state will benefit more than us. It’s we join our neighbors in southeastern Virginia in expanding Medicaid and bringing the federal dollars we send to D.C. back to eastern North Carolina.

SUPPORT FOR HEALTH CARE

Health care and hospitals are critical to eastern North Carolina residents and to job creation and higher wages in our communities. On Thursday, the N.C. Senate gave initial approval to a state budget that attacks health care services and jobs in eastern North Carolina.

Several eastern North Carolina lawmakers oppose the $35 million Medicaid reimbursement cut the Senate budget proposes to implement against Vidant Health. Such a penalty will only hurt the patients, doctors, nurses and communities that Vidant serves. It will also strain medical teaching hospitals that train doctors who want to stay and practice in eastern North Carolina. We encourage citizens, businesses and health care professionals to contact their state senators to urge them to reconsider.

D-DAY ANNIVERSARY

On June, 6, 1944 more than 4,000 Allied soldiers were killed in the invasion of Normandy during World War II. Among the dead were 39 North Carolinians. Ceremonies were held at the Capitol building Thursday to commemorate the historic day. We say, “Thank you” to our veterans and to members of “The Greatest Generation!”

CITY OF WILSON AWARDS

Home Rehabilitation Award

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has awarded the city of Wilson $190,000 with access to a competitive loan pool of $2.11 million for comprehensive rehabilitation to homes owned by low-income veteran, elderly and disabled homeowners in Wilson County. The HOME program and Housing Trust Fund has provided $288 million to rehabilitate almost 34,550 homes.

Emergency Repair Award

The N.C. Housing Finance Agency also awarded the city of Wilson $100,000 from the Housing Trust Fund to make emergency repairs for 12 homes in Wilson County, enabling veterans, seniors and disabled North Carolinians with very low incomes to continue living safely in their own homes.

A recent policy brief concluded that the Urgent Repair Program can result in Medicaid savings of up to $19 for every $1 invested in the Urgent Repair Program. The funds help homeowners to make emergency repairs in order to correct safety hazards or to make accessibility modifications. The 2019 awards will finance repairs to 622 homes in 61 counties and will allow people to safely remain in their homes.

Jean Farmer-Butterfield, D-Wilson, represents the entirety of Wilson County in the N.C. House. This column is adapted from her weekly email newsletter to constituents.

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