JLF Health Care Policy Analyst Jordan Roberts has offered perspective via a letter to the editor in the Wilmington Star-News. In the letter, which responded to a Star-News editorial that endorsed Medicaid expansion, Roberts urged lawmakers to take a different course. In his letter, Roberts writes:

Despite calls by well-intentioned advocates, including this newspaper’s editorial board, for the state to expand Medicaid, legislative leaders are right to reject a potential $6 billion-dollar albatross and instead focus on expanding access and lowering costs through competition and transparency.

While Roberts acknowledges the struggles for many to obtain affordable insurance, he notes that Medicaid expansion is not a sustainable way to address those concerns:

[A decision to expand Medicaid] assumes the federal government – which sits on a $22 trillion debt with forecasts of $1 trillion yearly deficits ahead – will fulfill its promise to fund 90 percent of future costs. Imposing a hospital tax to pay the remaining 10 percent may seem ‘free.’

It’s not. North Carolinians will pay through higher federal debt. 

Roberts ends by suggesting an alternate course:

Instead of passing costs off to government and taxpayers, our vision focuses on reducing the price of coverage. It’s more than aspirational; it’s actionable.

Read the full letter here. Learn more about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina here.