FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, August 27, 2020
CONTACT: Liz Doherty
Dan Forest Opposes Medicaid Expansion, Blocking Health Care Coverage for Over A Half Million North Carolinians During Pandemic
RALEIGH — Yesterday, Governor Cooper laid out his budget proposal and priorities, and emphasized the importance of expanding Medicaid in North Carolina, despite the efforts of Republican legislators to block it at every turn. Dan Forest remains opposed to Medicaid expansion, even though over a half million North Carolinians fell into the coverage gap before the pandemic and additional people have lost health insurance during the pandemic due to job loss.
The pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for health care coverage. Expanding Medicaid would cover an estimated 500,000 or more North Carolinians, boost the economy by $4 billion and create an estimated 40,000 jobs. Additionally, researchers estimate that expanding Medicaid would increase the state’s business activity by $11.7 billion in just three years.
North Carolina is one of only twelve states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid. Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma are several of the many states, red and blue, that have expanded Medicaid successfully. Even Mike Pence expanded Medicaid when he was governor of Indiana.
Although over 57% of North Carolinians support Medicaid expansion, Forest still hasn’t budged on his opposition.
Here’s a recap of where Forest stands on health care:
- In 2012, Forest supported the state opting out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
- In 2013, Forest joined then-Governor McCrory in opposing medicaid expansion. In a speech, Forest praised the decision not to set up a health care exchange or expand Medicaid as part of the ACA, or what he called “the building blocks of the conservative changes happening in North Carolina.”
- In 2019, instead of passing a budget that puts North Carolinians first, legislative Republican leaders rigged the game to deny coverage to over 500,000 people who fall in the coverage gap. Forest sided with Republican leadership as they refused to come to the table to negotiate with Governor Cooper to pass a responsible budget.
- Dan Forest remains publicly opposed to Medicaid expansion. He’s vaguely suggested other ideas would work better, but has not elaborated on the specifics of another solution.