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If you were waiting for some good news about the expanded Medicaid program in North Carolina, you're in for a long wait. Governor Pat McCrory recently signed a major piece of legislation that rejected major parts of the federal healthcare law, stating that he just “doesn't think now is the time to expand Medicaid.” The move ultimately denied around 500,000 low-income North Carolinians access to much-needed healthcare coverage under the expanded Medicaid program. So, why did the governor say no to the expansion and how will this bill impact bankruptcies in North Carolina?
Disappointment for Low-Income Families in NC
Instead of making it a public affair, McCrory chose to endorse the bill that blocked Medicaid expansion during a private signing session. Once the bill was signed into law, he gave a public statement explaining his decision. According to McCrory, North Carolina can’t even consider expanding Medicaid until Washington reforms the current system. With the steady cooperation between political parties right now, that shouldn't take long, right? McCrory said that he signed the controversial bill because the Medicaid system simply cannot afford to take on new patients right now.
North Carolina is not the only state who has opted out of the expansion. Across the South, a handful of state leaders are rejecting the idea they should extend government-paid healthcare coverage to people who fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. In a political effort to show their loathing for the Affordable Care Act, elected leaders seem to have turned their backs on the nation’s working poor.
North Carolina is full of people who want to work and earn a decent living for their families. They don’t want to depend on the government to get by. Unfortunately, with the economic recession and an unemployment rate that just won’t seem to decrease, some North Carolinians need a helping hand right now. The Medicaid program expansion could have been that helping hand.
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The Success of Medicaid-Funded Healthcare
Healthcare treatment programs that are traditionally funded by Medicaid have a long history of success. In fact, they actually end up saving the state money in the long run. By keeping participants healthy and providing access to doctors, these programs prevent disease and unnecessary strain on emergency rooms around North Carolina.
When you think about it, if the state cuts off access to healthcare services for people who are at or near the poverty line, it does serious damage. For instance, if you don’t allow children and families to obtain quality health services, it all but guarantees the state will pay a higher cost for healthcare later on. If you don’t have the ability to pay out-of-pocket for your doctor visits, you talk yourself out of going. Once your medical condition demands attention, you end up in the emergency room. If you’re at the poverty line, how can you afford to pay the massive ER bill that eventually makes its way to your mailbox? The hospital is almost forced to write off that expense, which means the state will pick up the bill at some point. All that can be avoided by providing access to Medicare-funded programs.
Bankruptcy and Medical Debt
It’s no secret that the burden of medical debt weighs heavy on the uninsured. In fact, high medical bills caused 62 percent of all bankruptcies in 2012, making it the number one reason for filing bankruptcy. If you make just one visit to a North Carolina emergency room, by the time you leave, you could easily rack up a $3,000 bill. In an attempt to pay for healthcare services, over 11 million people end up taking on additional credit card debt. It becomes a vicious circle of debt that’s almost impossible to get out of. By denying 500,000 North Carolinians access to expanded Medicaid benefits, you can safely assume medical costs will increase bankruptcy filings in the state.
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If you’re struggling with healthcare-related debt, being harassed by debt collectors on a daily basis and wondering where to turn for help, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. By consulting with an experienced North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, you’ll learn about current bankruptcy laws and discover how a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you get a fresh start.
Dedicated to helping residents of North Carolina find the best solutions to their debt problems. Don’t waste another day worrying about your debt. Call 1-888-234-4181 today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your bankruptcy options.