March 4, 2023
For Immediate Release
Daniela Cerón, Policy & Communications Associate
Latino Commission on AIDS
Latinos in the South and North Carolina AIDS Action Network applaud the swift movement of NC lawmakers reaching Medicaid Expansion deal
Durham, North Carolina – Latinos in the South, a program of the Latino Commission on AIDS, and the NC AIDS Action Network applaud the efficient and expedited manner in which Medicaid Expansion has garnered bipartisan support. Medicaid expansion would provide coverage to approximately 600,000 North Carolinians that are currently in the state’s healthcare coverage gap.
For people living with HIV and other chronic health conditions, access to health insurance coverage is imperative to keeping communities healthy. Consistent HIV care is crucial to reducing and preventing transmission of HIV and lowering mortality rates which are key components of the Federal Plan to End the HIV Epidemic. In states that have expanded Medicaid, only 5% of the population living with HIV remain uninsured compared to 19% in non-expansion states.
“This moment feels different. The long and difficult fight to close the healthcare coverage gap has been going on for over 10 years, but Medicaid Expansion could very well be a reality for North Carolinians this year,” says Matt Martin, Associate Director of the NC AIDS Action Network. “Medicaid is the number one provider of coverage for folks living with HIV, so we know that expanding this vital program will not only help to increase the number of folks actively engaged in care and treatment, but also help individuals lead full and healthy lives through comprehensive healthcare coverage.”
In states that have expanded Medicaid, the use of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission saw significant increases along with expanded HIV testing options, compared to non-expansion states. More individuals living with HIV were able to access comprehensive Medicaid coverage and HIV mortality rates saw declines - all crucial pieces of the Federal Ending the HIV Epidemic plan.
“The prospect of finally securing Medicaid expansion is just on the horizon. With the agreement reached by the Senate and House, we know that continued bipartisan support is the final piece in unlocking long-overdue coverage for thousands across the state,” says Joaquin Carcaño, Director of Southern Health Policy at the Latino Commission on AIDS. “We know that healthcare disparities are exacerbated without access to care and coverage and the avoidance of costly treatment. Medicaid expansion is crucial to the health of our families and communities and the future of North Carolina.”
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 14% of uninsured Hispanic adults in North Carolina would become eligible for healthcare coverage should Medicaid expand. As many Latinx families are often mixed-status, increased coverage and access to healthcare for a single-family member would have untold positive ripple effects upon the rest of the family unit, especially for individuals living with HIV.
The LatinoCommission on AIDS was founded in 1990 and is the only Latinx organization witha regional focus in the Southeast, throughthe Latinos in the South program, based in Durham, NC with a secondaryoffice in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The mission of the Latino Commission on AIDS isto impact the HIV/AIDS epidemic by spearheading health advocacy, promotinghealth education, developing and replicating evidence-based programs for PLWHAand high-risk communities, and by building capacity across the public healthsector and within our communities. Latinos in the South works regionally across the southeast (AL, MS, NC,SC, TN, GA, TX, FL, LA) and primarily serves Latinx, immigrant, and LGBTQcommunities living with and affected by HIV. www.latinosdeepsouth.org
The NC AIDS Action Network (NCAAN) is the lead HIV advocacy organizationin North Carolina working on all things policy for those living with andimpacted by HIV. Their policy focusesand priorities include HIV treatment and prevention, LGBTQIA+ justice, viralHepatitis treatment and prevention, harm reduction services, sexual andreproductive health and justice, racial equity, and broader health access andequity for individuals throughout and beyond North Carolina.