By Stevie Brooks, 2022 Down Home Fellow, Cleveland County
When I was 19 years old I found myself pregnant; thankfully, I was soon employed. Due to my unplanned pregnancy and the abrupt start of employment, I didn’t qualify for health insurance with my employer. I did what thousands of North Carolinians still do today, and successfully applied for Medicaid.
I was shocked when I received a huge bill after a safe delivery, a bill for my newborn daughter who apparently was not covered by my Medicaid account. Just like 600,000 people In North Carolina today, my newborn daughter had no access to health coverage.
NC is one of a dozen states who have refused to expand Medicaid. After nearly 10 years of politicized commentaries and general assembly committee reports, I am worried and angry that our legislators still hesitate to come to an agreement to finally accept billions of dollars of federal funding covering 90% of the Medicaid expansion costs.
There is no time to wait; a conservative estimate of 16,000 working families, my neighbors living right here in Cleveland County, have no access to healthcare coverage. Cleveland County, home to the Speaker of the House Tim Moore, is suffering mightily.
This is hard. I thank Representative Tim Moore for acknowledging the need to utilize billions of dollars of federal funds to help hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians gain Medicaid coverage. I also want to yell. What’s taking my government so long to do the right thing?
We really cannot wait: Cleveland County is reeling from the impacts of Covid-19, and current economic hardships are further stressing working families like mine struggling to make ends meet. We need relief and we need relief now.
We only have days. Call your legislator today and tomorrow to pass Medicaid Expansion before this short session ends. Find your NC House legislator’s name at ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators or use this form to call.