by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
This week, JLF’s Mitch Kokai was quoted in a piece for the Winston-Salem Journal on Medicaid expansion. The piece explains that, since Kansas passed its recent Medicaid expansion compromise, many are wondering if North Carolina may follow suit. The reporter, Richard Craver, writes:
A first-term Democratic governor and the Republican senate majority leader in Kansas agreed on a compromise last week that would allow it to become the 38th state — and 15th red — to expand its Medicaid program…
The agreement is the third of its kind recently between a Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature counting Kentucky and Louisiana.
Craver quotes Kokai:
“[T]here is no question that the well-funded Medicaid expansion lobby will latch onto this announcement as it continues to pressure North Carolina to join the club.”
The Kansas expansion would add more people to an already large program. Craver writes:
The agreement is projected to add up to 150,000 Kansas residents to the Medicaid program that already has more than 390,000 participants. At that level, it would cover 18% of Kansas’ 2.91 million residents.
By comparison, Medicaid currently covers 2.2 million North Carolinians, with projections of expansion adding between 450,000 and 650,000 residents. At 2.65 million participants, that would represent 25% of the state’s population, while at 2.85 million, it would represent 26.8%.
The majority of these additional recipients would be able-bodied, childless adults. As JLF’s health care researcher, Jordan Roberts, explains:
“Medicaid is a public insurance program for the elderly, the disabled, children, and mothers which lawmakers should leave intact for the intended populations rather than add 500,000 new enrollees, most of whom are able-bodied, childless adults.”