“Medicaid expansion in North Carolina is a direct result of community-led organizing and power building for over a decade. The clock is ticking and policymakers in the remaining non-expansion states should expand Medicaid before millions of adults lose coverage.”
Executive Director Emily Stewart


March 23, 2023

CONTACT: Jack Cardinal, (781) 960-5208, jcardinal@communitycatalyst.org

(BOSTON, MA) — Community Catalyst joins partners North Carolina Justice Center and NC Child in celebrating the bipartisan passage of Medicaid expansion, which will provide 600,000 North Carolinians with affordable health coverage. Passage could provide a blueprint for other non-expansion states as millions of people stand to lose their coverage as the federal government ends the public health emergency. 

“Medicaid expansion in North Carolina is a direct result of community-led organizing and power building for over a decade. People want affordable health care and they want it now,” said Emily Stewart, executive director of Community Catalyst. “The clock is ticking and policymakers in the remaining non-expansion states should expand Medicaid before millions of adults lose coverage.”  

Thousands more families will be able to breathe a little easier knowing they have affordable health care within reach. Even as we celebrate today’s progress, we know our work is not done as the implementation of today’s milestone is contingent upon passing a comprehensive budget bill in North Carolina. Some are already cautioning that Republican leaders may try to pass bans on people’s rights and freedoms as a part of that package, including by pursuing an anti-voting, anti-abortion, anti-trans, anti-gay agenda.  

“While we celebrate this win, we must also ensure that it does not come at the expense of other rights and liberties. As we turn to the next stage of this fight, we will continue to ensure that affordable coverage does not come with an unconscionable price tag,” continued Stewart. “Affordable health care is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to advancing health justice. We will fight to ensure all people have the right to control their own bodies and lives.”  

Statement from Nicole Dozier, Director of the Health Advocacy Project at North Carolina Justice Center:  

“We are overjoyed that more than 600,000 North Carolinians can finally access lifesaving healthcare. This victory is due in no small part to the advocates and community organizers who have fought for over a decade to expand Medicaid. While we celebrate this historic win, we also want to remember the thousands of North Carolinians who have died in our state’s Medicaid coverage gap—and to recognize those who will continue to do so in the remaining non-expansion states. Their lives are an important reminder of the need for policymakers to expand Medicaid now, especially as millions could lose their health coverage when the Public Health Emergency ends. As always, the North Carolina Justice Center will continue to fight to ensure that all children, adults, and families have access to the high-quality, affordable health care they need to thrive.” 

Statement from Erica Palmer Smith, Executive Director of NC Child

“The impact of this legislation is going to be felt for generations in North Carolina. We’re about to give hundreds of thousands of kids the opportunity to grow up with healthy parents who can be there for them.” 

Additional Background:  

A long-time issue in the state, the eventual support of Medicaid expansion by Republican leaders in North Carolina is a result of years of grassroots organizing and community-driven work undertaken by local and state advocacy organizations.  

Together for Medicaid (TFM) – a partnership between Community Catalyst, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families – has supported the building and strengthening of state and local coalitions across North Carolina – as well as the last non-expansion states – for nearly a decade.    

Medicaid expansion will not only provide much needed access to health care for North Carolinians, but it will also generate savings for the state budget, help struggling rural hospitals on the verge of closing and create jobs, especially in the health care industry. 

The impact of expansion will have an outsized impact on Black and Latinx adults who make up a disproportionate number of Medicaid enrollees due to systemic and racist barriers to economic mobility.  

Expected drops in coverage as the PHE unwinds will be particularly steep in the 10 remaining states that have not expanded Medicaid. This speaks to the urgent need for expansion.  

Some have warned that expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina, which will be tied to the state budget, could end up being dependent on an agreement to limit abortion rights and the “don’t say ‘gay’” education bill.  


About Community Catalyst:  

Community Catalyst is a leading non-profit national health advocacy organization dedicated to advancing a movement for race equity and health justice. We partner with local, state and national advocates to leverage and build power so all people can influence decisions that affect their health. Health systems will not be accountable to people without a fully engaged and organized community voice. That’s why we work every day to ensure people’s interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and health care are made: in communities, state houses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit http://www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @CommCatHealth.