Loading...
Judge not lest ye be judged" is a foundation of faith. However, I have never met anyone who did not judge. Is it even...

Closing the health care coverage gap good for business

Gates

Bruse Gates

Loading…

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Business leaders know firsthand that a strong workforce is essential to North Carolina’s economy. We also know that employee health is a big contributor to the strength of our workforce.

That’s why the N.C. East Alliance Chambers supports a solution to closing the health insurance coverage gap for working people in North Carolina.

A big contributor to good health is having insurance. People with health insurance are more likely to see a doctor when they get sick and have better overall health. And healthier employees are more productive and absent less.

Unfortunately, 13 percent of North Carolinians under 65 are uninsured, and the uninsurance rate is even higher in many rural eastern counties. These our are neighbors — they are construction workers, retail employees, restaurant workers, veterans and farmers. They are the bedrock of our communities.

Currently, a family of four with working parents cannot earn more than $12,000 to qualify for Medicaid. Many families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid also earn too little to qualify for federal subsidies and credits to help middle-class citizens purchase their own insurance. These people fall into a coverage gap.

I have two women working for me now who pay between $800 and $1,047 per month for health insurance. These premiums consume about 1/3 of their incomes, which puts a tremendous strain on their family finances. We need to find a health care solution that provides hard-working women like these an affordable option.

The good news is that we can follow the lead of 37 red and blue states and close the health insurance coverage gap. Doing so would allow an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians to gain access to affordable health care.

We all benefit from expanding access to insurance, starting with lower health care costs. When faced with a medical condition, those without insurance often have little choice but to rely on the emergency room, which legally must treat them regardless of ability to pay.

The cost of this care is passed on to consumers through higher insurance premiums and higher medical costs for those with insurance. That’s why premiums for people who buy their own health insurance are 7 percent lower on average in states that have closed their coverage gap compared to those that haven’t.

Closing the coverage gap is particularly powerful for rural hospitals and communities like ours in eastern North Carolina. Our hospitals are disproportionately affected when people don’t have health insurance.

With smaller margins to operate, rural hospitals often struggle to compensate for patients who can’t afford to pay for their care. Forty percent of North Carolina’s rural hospitals are operating in the red, and five have closed since 2014. We need to close the coverage gap to help keep their doors open.

And here’s the clincher, closing the coverage gap is fiscally responsible. It requires zero state dollars as the federal government pays 90 percent of the costs and the rest is paid by hospitals and health plans.

A report from George Washington University estimates that closing the coverage gap would generate over $200 million in economic activity in Wayne County alone.

There is increasing energy on both sides of the aisle to close the coverage gap. We call on our representatives, Democrat and Republican, to come together and find a bipartisan way to get it done that makes sense for North Carolina.

Bruce Gates is a Goldsboro Realtor and serves as the chair of the board of directors of the NCEast Alliance Chambers.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

June 10, 2019

The New York Times 

“Because it’s there.” For those who grew up on George Mallory’s famous explanation for his yearning to scale Mount Everest, with all the romance, danger and spirit of exploration it implied, that viral photograph of an endless line of climbers in…

June 10, 2019

Although it may not appear so, the leaders of both major political parties in North Carolina favor lowering the tax burden of large businesses. Their real dispute is about the scope and magnitude of the tax relief.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has consistently opposed recent state budgets, crafted by…

john hood.jpg

June 10, 2019

We are just weeks away from the first of 20 Democratic debates scheduled this primary season. It gets underway over two nights in Miami on June 26 and 27, and never before has there been a debate this early in the election and potentially this important.

The reason there are so many candidates, 23…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg

June 09, 2019

Gerrymandering has always been part of American politics. After all, the term was coined in 1812 after Massachusetts governor and Founding Father Elbridge Gerry endorsed a state senate district that resembled a salamander.

Until recently, federal courts have been highly reluctant to enter the…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

June 09, 2019

It is not unfair to point out that President Trump, on many important subjects, is just an ignoramus.

A vivid illustration of this unfortunate fact came this week in London, when it was revealed that Prince Charles, a knowledgeable environmentalist, had tried to educate the president on climate…

Eugene Robinson

June 09, 2019

"When you are told all your life you're dumb, unworthy, you start believing it. God changed that for me."

Jerry, from Youngstown, Tennessee, hesitated to be interviewed by Chris Arnade, because "I don't know my ABCs, so I can't really talk right." He told Arnade, the author of the new book…

kathrynlopez

June 09, 2019

Senate Republicans are pushing back on President Trump's plan to impose tariffs on Mexico. But if Mexican officials think these Republicans are going to save them from Trump's tariffs, it's time for them to think again.

So far, congressional Republicans have managed to remain bystanders in Trump's…

MarcThiessen

June 08, 2019

In 1940, some 3.6 million people lived in North Carolina, ranking the state 11th in the nation in population and first in the Southeast. Across the South as a whole, only Texas (6.4 million) was more populous.

If present trends continue, by 2040 North Carolina will have a population of about 12.7…

john hood.jpg

June 08, 2019

The Charlotte Observer

How much money is too much for a high school football coach? North Carolina’s second largest school district has provided something of an answer.

Last month, Vance High School coach Aaron Brand cashed in on a successful five-year run in Charlotte and accepted a coaching…

June 08, 2019

In 1788 the Hillsborough Convention convened to consider ratification of the U.S. Constitution and also to approve an “unalterable” seat of government. They did neither.

The Constitution, they determined, lacked assurances of personal rights the delegates deemed essential and, after…

Tom Campbell
220 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 22
        Next Page»   Last Page»