NC Newspaper Misses The Mark On Obamacare Implementation

A local North Carolina newspaper published several incorrect statements and left out important details in a piece on the Affordable Care Act, including blaming the health care law for job losses, which were actually caused by Republican obstructionism, and providing misleading information about who is eligible for federal subsidies.

The Daily Herald: The Affordable Care Act Led To Job Losses At Local Hospital

The Daily Herald: ACA Caused Local Hospital To Cut Positions And Reduce Salaries. According to a September 26 article in The Daily Herald, the “impact of the [ACA] has already been felt with cost reduction measures” because a local hospital -- Halifax Regional -- cut 13 positions and instituted pay cuts for remaining employees “due to a lack of Medicaid expansion.” [The Daily Herald, 9/26/13]

Medicaid Expansion Was Blocked By Republicans, Not The Affordable Care Act

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory Signed Legislation In March Blocking Medicaid Expansion. An article in the Huffington Post discussed the closing of another North Carolina hospital because Republicans in the state decided to block the expansion of Medicaid that would be available under the ACA. The article continued:

Vidant Health, a nonprofit 10-hospital network, will shutter the 49-bed Vidant Pungo Hospital in Belhaven, about an hour's drive east of the chain's Greenville headquarters, within six months, the company announced this week. Other considerations, including outdated facilities, also led to the company's decision to close the hospital but North Carolina foregoing the Medicaid expansion contributed to the decision, Vidant Health CEO David Herman told The Huffington Post.

North Carolina is one of 26 states where Republican governors or state legislators have rejected the Medicaid expansion. The expansion is intended to provide health benefits to anyone who makes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $15,282 for a single person this year.

As a result, the states will turn down billions of federal dollars and millions of poor residents in these states will remain uninsured even after Obamacare's coverage expansion takes full effect next year.

McCrory signed legislation in March blocking the Medicaid expansion and the creation of a state-run health insurance exchange in North Carolina, citing cost and other factors. [The Huffington Post, 9/6/13]

The Daily Herald: It Remains Unclear Who Would Be Eligible For Subsides

The Daily Herald: The Question Of Who Gets Subsidies “Has Yet To Be Fully Answered.” The Daily Herald quotes local insurance salesman Phil Hux to explain that the question of who gets subsides “has yet to be fully answered.” [The Daily Herald, 9/26/13]

ACA Sets Qualifications For Those Eligible For Subsidies

Anyone Who Purchases Insurance Through State Exchanges And Has An Income Less Than 400 Percent Of The Federal Poverty Level Can Receive Subsidies. According to a fact sheet on federal subsidies provided by Community Catalyst, people who purchase insurance through a state-based exchange “will be eligible for subsides for health insurance premiums and cost-sharing if their income is less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.” [Community Catalyst, accessed 9/27/13]

Families USA: More Than 850,000 North Carolina Residents Would Be Eligible For Subsidies. According to a report by Families USA, if North Carolina had expanded its Medicaid program, 868,520 residents would be eligible for subsidies for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. [Families USA, April 2013]

The Daily Herald Ignores Many Benefits To North Carolina Families Provided By ACA

By 2019, “About 95 Percent Of Non-Elderly Legal Residents Of North Carolina Will Have Insurance Coverage” If ACA Is Fully Enacted. According to a fact sheet provided by the North Carolina Justice Center, about 95 percent of the estimated 1.8 million uninsured in North Carolina will have insurance coverage by 2019. [North Carolina Justice Center, accessed 9/27/13]

Families USA: “On Average, Each Household In North Carolina Will Be $1,997 Better Off In 2019 Due To The Provisions Of The Affordable Care Act.” According to a report by Families USA, low-income families will see the largest financial benefits due to the Affordable Care Act, but, on average, North Carolina families “will be $1,997 better off in 2019 due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.” [Families USA, October 2011]

Families USA: “On Average, Households In North Carolina Will Spend $225 Less Out Of Pocket Under The Affordable Care Act In 2019.” According to Families USA, the Affordable Care Act will result in lower out-of-pocket costs for most families in North Carolina, with an average reduction in out-of-pocket costs of $225 by 2019. [Families USA, October 2011]