Currently, North Carolina community health centers serve approximately 200,000 uninsured patients statewide with primary care services. Many people who are uninsured show up to our clinics with conditions that have grown worse over time due to a lack of insurance. The vast majority of these people are the working poor that make too little to afford the cost of health insurance premiums, and make too much for Medicaid. They are caught in the “coverage gap.”
”In the counties Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center serves, Hertford, Bertie, Washington, Northampton, and Gates chronic health care conditions are devastating our citizens lives and contributes to holding down our region economically, socially, spiritually and physically. The NC Institute of Medicine Child Health Report Card most kids in North Carolina are in excellent or very good health and over 96% of children have health insurance imagine how overall health could improve if 96% of all adults had health insurance!,” said Kim Schwartz, RCCHC CEO.
Though North Carolina’s economy is growing, that growth is across many sectors including low-wage service jobs. Many people in these jobs do not have coverage through their employers.
“RCCHC has to spend so much of our resources, time and efforts helping individuals in our counties with no insurance and being able to shift our work to education, prevention and expansion of other needed services would be such an excellent use of our state and federal funds,” Schwartz added.
Last year, NCCHCA endorsed HB 662, Carolina Cares, a conservative approach to covering the uninsured. This bill, introduced by Representatives Lambeth, Murphy, Dobson, and White sought to empower patients to access affordable, high quality, and innovative primary and preventive care.
Though we prefer a solution that does not require work requirements, we support it because it:
- Would allow 300,000+ working people in the coverage gap to gain affordable coverage.
- Empowers patients by encouraging participation in preventive care and wellness programs.
- Would not cost the state anything, as it will receive funding through (a) federal match, (b) participant contributions, and (c) state assessments, including hospital assessment.
NCCHCA will continue to support bipartisan solutions to close North Carolina’s coverage gap and help us maintain a healthy workforce and support a growing economy.
The North Carolina Community Health Center Association (NCCHCA) is the state’s Primary Care Association. Formed in 1978 by the leadership of community health centers, NCCHCA is comprised of membership from each of the 40 health center grantees, aspiring health centers and other partners.