There is a somewhat common misconception that Medicaid expansion amounts to little more than a government handout to people who are unwilling to work.

In reality, many of the people who would benefit from Medicaid expansion are working. But, they are working in jobs that do not provide health insurance and do not pay enough for them to afford it on their own.

In fact, according to a new report, these individuals are working in difficult, lower paying jobs like hospitality, retail and construction.

If North Carolina expands Medicaid, as proposed and passed by the Senate this month, many of these working people and their families would have access to health insurance.

Workers would be eligible for Medicaid if they earned under about $18,000 as an individual or about $37,000 for a family of four.

“The most common jobs,” the report finds, “for low-wage, uninsured workers in North Carolina are cashiers, cooks, freight and stock laborers, waiters/waitresses, and nursing assistants.”

And, the “14 counties with the highest proportion of uninsured workers, each with more than 20 percent of non-elderly employed adults lacking insurance,” are rural counties.  

Expansion helps our neighbors who work hard for a living, but are employed in jobs that don’t provide insurance.

Add to this that expansion will drive down insurance premiums by lessening the burden on businesses and workers to subsidize uncompensated care, and its passage should be a no-brainer.

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