by Brian Balfour
Senior Vice President of Research, John Locke Foundation
If the past decade since Medicaid expansion was authorized under Obamacare is any indication, North Carolinians have a lot to be concerned about following our legislature’s recent decision to expand the program here.
From this article in The Hill:
North Carolina’s own Department of Health and Human Services warns that the state faces “a severe shortage of behavioral health providers and dental professionals who serve Medicaid, uninsured and low-income patients.”
Expanding Medicaid has placed further strain on a health system already failing to provide adequate access to care to those who need it most. In the months and years ahead, North Carolinians already on the program will find it harder to obtain timely, high-quality health services.
Medicaid expansion has been linked to longer waits for appointments, slower ambulance response times and greater delays in the emergency room. A meta-analysis of 34 studies found that appointment availability for Medicaid patients declined sharply post-ACA relative to those with private insurance — due, at least in part, to the nearly 20 million additional adults nationwide who have joined Medicaid over the last decade.
The results are a worsening of health care outcomes, according to the article:
One study estimated that overall mortality trends actually worsened in states that expanded Medicaid compared to states that did not.
Other poor outcomes include worsening mental health for Medicaid enrollees, with rural populations suffering the most.
Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina was a big mistake, and the harshest consequences will be felt by the state’s neediest population. As The Hill article concludes:
“(H)aving a health insurance card is a far cry from receiving the care you need. Just ask the millions whose struggle has been made more difficult.”