RELEASE: New CAP Report: Expanding Medicaid Would Save the Lives of Nearly 1,160 North Carolinians Per Year

Washington, D.C. — A new Center for American Progress report quantifies the potential benefits of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina and the 18 other states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The report looks at 12 ways that North Carolina’s failure to expand Medicaid is harming North Carolinians, depriving them of health-related benefits such as additional lives saved and more early cancer diagnoses, as well as nonhealth benefits such as fewer bankruptcies, lower medical debts, and enhanced public safety.

“Our report shows that not expanding Medicaid is literally costing lives,” says Rachel West, director of research for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at the Center for American Progress. “Every year nearly 1,160 North Carolinians die simply because they live in a state that has chosen not to expand Medicaid. And thousands of North Carolinians face avoidable financial harm solely because Gov. Roy Cooper (R) and the state Legislature refuse to expand Medicaid.”

The report estimates that if North Carolina were to fully expand Medicaid in 2019, the benefits would include:

  • Additional lives saved per year: 1,155
  • Additional cancer diagnoses per year: 641
  • Additional early-stage cancer diagnoses per year: 548
  • Reduction in opioid-related hospitalizations of uninsured patients per year: 2,197
  • Bankruptcies prevented per year: 65
  • Reduction in families’ accrued medical debt: $575.9 million
  • Reduction in families’ collection balances: $713.6 million
  • Money kept in families’ pockets from less costly credit per year: $177.8 million
  • Savings to local communities from enhanced public safety per year: $681.6 million

These and other effects are broken down for North Carolina and other nonexpansion states. Find the figures for your state here.

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Julia Cusick at jcusick@americanprogress.org or 202-495-3682.