Proposed bill could expand healthcare in N.C.

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“This is a step in the right direction,” said Todd Hickey, Chief Clinical Network Development Officer for Vidant Health.

House bill 655: N.C. Health Care for Working Families Act was introduced to legislators this month.

Several hospital and health care systems across the state are showing their support for this Republican-led bill.

“Ultimately House bill 655 is meant to help people in North Carolina who are under-insured or not insured at all to have access to affordable insurance coverage,” said Hickey.

The goal of the bill is to mend the gap between those who can afford health care and those who cannot.

“Estimates are that there are 350 to 500 thousand folks who fall in this gap in North Carolina,” said Julie Henry, Senior Director, Member, and Grassroots Organizer, NCHA.

“Most of these people are hardworking North Carolinians they are farmers they are clergy they are doing a lot they are employed, but they can’t afford insurance,” said Hickey.

The bill will create a program where the participant will pay two percent of their yearly income a month.

That will go toward an annual premium.

Hospitals will also have to pay a tax.

Lawmakers said public tax dollars won’t be used and the bill won’t contribute to the national debt.

Health officials said the more people insured, the healthier the state will become. 

“They look to go to the physician more often they look for health screening opportunities,” said Hickey.

Governor Cooper also voiced his approval for the bill.

He said in short not only would it decrease the coverage gap, but it would also boost the state’s economy by billions of dollars. 

The Governor said he’s looking forward to working with legislators to make this the best proposal it can be. 
 

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