Last week the North Carolina Senate considered a version of the state budget that would redirect $250,000 from the Women’s Health Services Fund, which provides family planning services to low-income women, to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship, which funds Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). On Wednesday, the bill was referred to the committee on appropriations. Since 2009, Texas has similarly allocated $4 million annually to unlicensed and unregulated CPCs. Why is this a problem? Because CPCs are known to pose as comprehensive medical centers, when in fact they provide misleading and inaccurate information to women. The Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship is an explicitly anti-abortion organization that provides funding and training for a majority of the CPCs throughout North Carolina.
Since 2006, the number of CPCs in North Carolina has doubled. 75% of these centers are located in communities with higher than average populations of people of color, and every college campus in the state has a CPC located within 25 miles of it. The Women’s Health Services Fund was established more than ten years ago to provide low-income women who do not qualify for Medicaid with access to family planning services. A significant portion of the Fund helps women obtain long-acting contraceptives that would otherwise be cost prohibitive. Read more »
The cuts in the new law are harmful for everyone, but especially for women. In 2012, the unemployment rate was 9.6 percent for women in North Carolina, substantially higher than the rate for men (8.8 percent). Unemployment rates among black men (17.7 percent), black women (13.8 percent), and Hispanic women (11.4 percent) were also much higher than the North Carolina state average. In addition, the law restricts eligibility by, for example, disqualifying workers from benefits if they have to leave a job for health reasons or because of undue family hardship – a change that will particularly impact women. Read more »
A recent study by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine confirmed what many Governors, state legislators, advocates, and the public already know: covering more hardworking people through the Medicaid program is not only the right thing to do, it’s a good deal that makes a lot of sense.
In summary, a decision to participate in Medicaid expansion, as put forth in the [health care] law, would provide insurance coverage to approximately 500,000 North Carolinians; most of whom would remain uninsured without the expansion. Providing health insurance coverage will help people gain access to the care they need, which can help improve health outcomes. Because of the high federal match rate, the offsets, and the new tax revenues, the state would likely experience a net savings of $65.4 million from the Medicaid expansion over the eight-year time period.
Last week the winners of the first round of the Early Learning Challenge grant competition were announced.
The 9 states selected to receive the grant awards (California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Washington) have laid out comprehensive, collaborative strategies to achieve stronger early learning systems that increase low-income children’s access to high-quality early care and education.