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Delayed budget means delayed Medicaid expansion

Delayed budget means delayed Medicaid expansion

Nonprofits gear up for implementation but still have concerns 


As the state budget talks continue to stall in Raleigh, healthcare advocates are growing nervous over the delay in Medicaid expansion.

These advocates, along with many policymakers across the state, believe that every month without Medicaid is another month the state loses out on hundreds of millions of dollars with no strings attached — and another month some without access to healthcare may lose their lives.

Jackie Kiger has been with Pisgah Legal Services for 13 years and has worked on Medicaid policy and advocacy that whole time. Kiger, who is now the organization’s COO, said that although Medicaid expansion has already been passed in North Carolina, it needs to be implemented through the passage of the budget before communities can begin seeing the benefits.

“Implementation is the most crucial piece,” she said.

Any more delay is unconscionable, she added.

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“Some people are giving up on ever being able to get healthcare coverage, and some of them frankly are dying,” she said.

In May, the coronavirus emergency declaration ended, and along with that, access to medical care some people were entitled to. Many of those people don’t even know that they’ve lost or will lose access to healthcare, and Kiger fears that some will only find out once a medical emergency forces them to go see a doctor.

“There’s going to be a gap, and there’s going to be more people who are struggling again, especially for folks who are currently left out uncovered struggling to meet healthcare needs,” she said. “Then for people who had coverage, had a family practitioner, or were maybe taking insulin routinely, this can be a shocker and can disrupt the continuity of care.”

Kiger recommended that anyone who has lost coverage and thinks they may be eligible for Medicaid enrollment, or even those who aren’t sure where they stand, reach out to Pisgah Legal to get the ball rolling. She noted that Pisgah Legal has been preparing for quite some time so that the staff can get people healthcare as soon as Medicaid is implemented.

“Pisgah Legal Services stands ready to enroll people the moment we can,” she said. “We want to help educate and do outreach and support everybody in the community.

For more information, visit or call 800.489.6144.

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