No, students would not be covered under Medicaid expansion

May 9th, 2019 by NCTP Feed Categories: Feed, News No Responses
  • Medicaid expansion was the third-highest policy priority for last week’s NCAE teacher strike.
  • Despite misleading rhetoric from the NCAE, no children would be newly eligible for Medicaid under expansion.
  • Medicaid expansion would flood an already overcrowded system with able-bodied working age adults, 78 percent of whom are childless.

Leading up to their May 1 teacher strike, the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) released their top five policy priorities. The third-ranked priority was the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program. For the NCAE, expanding government welfare to working age able-bodied adults, most of whom have no dependent children, comes before nearly all other legitimate reforms needed in the state’s public education system.

In a post published before the announcement of the NCAE priorities, I pointed out that no children would become newly eligible for Medicaid under expansion.

Each proposed Medicaid expansion plan explicitly states it would expand Medicaid to adults ages 19 through 64 or 65. No K-12 aged student would be newly eligible for Medicaid under expansion.

In fact, children ages 6 through 18 currently qualify for full Medicaid up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level and for NC Health Choice (a Medicaid insurance product) up to 211 percent of the federal poverty level.

During the NCAE rally, protesters held signs reading “sick kids can’t learn.” Members of the state legislature also promoted similar messages. Expansion proponents continue to exploit children as political props in the ongoing debate.

Having been called out on their deception, Left-leaning groups scrambled to find justification for the policy in the days leading up to the rally. One policy paper by the North Carolina Justice Center cited a phenomenon known as the “welcome mat effect” – when those who were eligible before expansion sign up afterwards due to new awareness of their eligibility.

For students, this may happen when their parents become eligible for Medicaid under expansion. Unlike their children, some parents would become newly eligible under expansion in North Carolina. Medicaid currently covers the lowest-income parents, but not all the way up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line.

However, 78 percent of those that would be newly eligible for Medicaid under expansion would have no dependent children. And, at the end of the day, is it wise to further tie our state to a federal government that is $22 trillion in debt for the sake of a public information campaign to raise awareness of existing benefits for children?

As featured in a recent video from the Justice Center promoting Medicaid expansion, a protestor pointed out that, “every single child deserves access to the best healthcare…there’s no reason in this beautiful state of ours that kids should be denied healthcare because of a legislature’s vote.”

The irony is that Medicaid expansion would threaten access to care for children who are currently enrolled in Medicaid by adding an estimated half a million new enrollees to an already overcrowded system.

So, it seems North Carolina’s left-leaning cohort of organizations – including the Justice Center and the NCAE– have developed a new strategy to push their progressive policy agenda: if a policy can’t be passed on its merits, find any way that it remotely connects to children. Then claim that anyone that opposes the policy is heartless.

Okay, this is not actually a “new” strategy for an ideology that uses emotion over sound logic at every turn. But it has rarely been more on display than in the advocacy for Medicaid expansion conveniently making its way onto the NCAE’s latest policy priority list.

It is not compassionate to flood an already overcrowded system and limit access to care for current Medicaid recipients. It is arguably immoral to use children to advocate for a policy that would harm current children on Medicaid.

Featured image photo credit: