And no thanks to the Obama-hating GOP:
North Carolina experienced another drop in the number of individuals without health insurance to a record low of 10.4 percent in 2016, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. Since the federal Affordable Care Act went into full effect in 2014, the share of people without insurance in North Carolina has dropped from 15.6 percent.
However, the rate could be significantly lower if the Republican-controlled General Assembly approved expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 500,000 of the 1.04 million North Carolinians who still lack health insurance.
That 5% is huge, close to a half-million people. People who are much less likely now to be forced to either ignore health problems or be plunged into financially-crippling medical debt. I've mentioned this before, but several years ago, when I first left the Army, I managed a discount furniture store North of Durham. We used a couple of finance companies to help people borrow money for new furniture, but at least half of those who applied were turned down because of unpaid medical bills. I'm talking some 40-50 families every week, whose credit was so bad even high interest loans were off the table. Medical debt doesn't just impact the bottom 20%, it threatens the entire middle class. But people like this guy just don't care:
Mitch Kokai, a policy analyst with Libertarian think tank John Locke Foundation, said he has not been surprised by the decreasing state uninsured rate via the ACA.
“Force people to buy insurance or pay a penalty, and it shouldn’t surprise you when more people end up buying insurance,” Kokai said.
“What might be more surprising is the fact that the Affordable Care Act, with all of its disruption of the health care marketplace, has left so many people still lacking insurance.”
Yeah, numbers really aren't Mitch's strong suit. Before the ACA "disrupted" that health care market, the uninsured rate was 19.9%, and had only fluctuated 2% or so up or down for many years before that. And people like Mitch Kokai were just fine with that scenario, because they care more about corporate profits than what happens to families struggling to get by. And that attitude is shared by most Republicans in the General Assembly, even if their base has been hoodwinked into believing otherwise.