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Business executives, including Don Flow of Winston-Salem, support Medicaid expansion in op-ed article
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Business executives, including Don Flow of Winston-Salem, support Medicaid expansion in op-ed article

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A group of 14 business executives statewide, including Don Flow of Winston-Salem, say they support Medicaid expansion in North Carolina in an op-ed article submitted to the Winston-Salem Journal and other newspapers.

The article coincides with state legislators discussing legislation to expand Medicaid coverage this year.

The article says in part, “We all benefit from expanding access to insurance, starting with lower health care costs. When faced with a medical condition, those without insurance often have little choice but to rely on the emergency room, which legally must treat them regardless of ability to pay.

“The cost of this care is passed on to consumers through higher insurance premiums and higher medical costs for those with insurance,” the article says. “That’s why premiums for people who buy their own health insurance are 7% lower on average in states that have closed their coverage gap compared to those that haven’t.”

Flow, the chairman and chief executive of Flow Automotive., said in an email that expanding the Medicaid program in North Carolina makes economic sense.

“The rural hospitals in North Carolina are being devastated because they are not receiving Medicaid reimbursement,” Flow said. “40% of rural hospitals are in the red. We must continue to care for the entire state, not just the bigger cities.

“Expanding Medicaid would give health care access to 12,000 veterans who live in North Carolina, and currently have no insurance access to affordable health care,” Flow said. “These are men and women who served our country, and we have a responsibility to care for those who stood in harm’s way for all of us.”

Among other executives who signed the article are Mitchell Gold, the co-founder and chief executive at Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, a furniture company, and Charlie Owens of Asheville, the president of Fletcher Warehousing Co.

State Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, introduced last week HB 655 that would provide insurance coverage to state residents under the N.C. Health Care for Working Families program and establish the the N.C. Rural Access Grant Program.

Under the bill, healthcare systems would pay $758 million annually, and the federal government would pay the remaining costs.

jhinton@wsjournal.com 336-727-7299 @jhintonWSJ

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