Gov. Roy Cooper addresses challenges of Medicaid expansion enrollments

WINDSOR, N.C. (WITN) – As people in two counties gathered to discuss how to reach those who qualify for Medicaid expansion, Norman Cherry says he knows the need is there.

He’s lived in Bertie County his entire life and has seen his community members fall through the cracks.

“If a person makes $28,000, he or she is not eligible but they could use the assistance so I’d like to see that number increase to allow more people to qualify for the expansion,” Cherry said.

According to Joy Futrell, the CEO of Trillium Health Resources, rural communities like Bertie and Washington Counties struggle more when it comes to health care.

“People in these counties just don’t have the same kind of health care access and a lot of the times when you are in rural communities, you don’t have access to those things you need like housing, food, transportation,” Futrell explained.

With the loss of more hospitals, high numbers of uninsured people, shortages of healthcare professionals, and following the recent closing of Martin General Hospital, Medicaid expansion enrollment is crucial in rural communities.

That is why Governor Roy Cooper says it is important for counties like Washington and Bertie to educate residents on the expansion and have them sign up.

“When you sign up one person, not only do you change that person’s life in an extraordinary way, you change the lives of the people around them, their family, their children,” Gov. Cooper shared.

Gov. Cooper says the next step is to expand even more to help additional people in the state with affordable health care.