North Carolina could be the next state to expand access to quality, affordable health care

May 27, 2022

Earlier this week, North Carolina Senate leaders introduced a bill to increase eligibility for the state’s Medicaid program. North Carolina is one of 12 states that have refused to expand Medicaid for more than a decade. With the introduction of this bill, the Tar Heel state is positioned to be the next among this dozen to finally take action and the first to expand under new federal incentives.

If passed, this bill would expand quality, affordable coverage to more than 600,000 North Carolinians, many with serious and chronic health conditions. Expanding Medicaid would also enable people to receive critical cancer screenings, allowing more people to detect their cancer at earlier, more treatable stages. In short, expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would save lives.  

Many individuals who fall within ‘the coverage gap’ - making too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance – are more likely to detect cancer at a later stage when survivorship is less likely and treatment is costlier, and sometimes less effective. Data shows that cancer patients living in states with more restrictive Medicaid eligibility limits see significantly worse survival rates for most cancers in comparison to states with expanded eligibility limits.

Cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in North Carolina. This year alone, more than 65,320 North Carolinians will be diagnosed with cancer. Expanding access to Medicaid would ease the financial burden that health care costs place on many of these individuals, allowing them to focus on treatment.

When every day matters in the fight against cancer, delaying access to affordable, quality health care puts lives at stake.

ACS CAN will be following this bill as it makes its way through the legislature to ensure it meets the needs of cancer patients.   Expanding access to Medicaid is an important step in giving hope to thousands of cancer patients and their families who currently cannot afford the care they need. 

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Watch: Left Behind: Hope and Health in North Carolina

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