EASTERN CAROLINA, NC (WITN) A recent study ranks North Carolina as one of the worst states for health care when it comes to access and coverage.
Personal finance site WalletHub looked at a variety of factors to determine that North Carolina is the second worst scoring state for health care overall. This comes as the state legislature continues to wrestle with whether to include Medicaid expansion in this year's budget.
Republican State Representative Chris Humphrey says, "North Carolina is still a rural state. Rural North Carolina has a shortage of doctors."
Humphrey says many counties here in the east are among those experiencing health care shortages.
The WalletHub study says that's part of why the website ranked North Carolina among the worst states for health care.
The study looked at all 50 states and Washington D.C., finding that North Carolina ranks 50th in terms of access to care and cost of health care. North Carolina Democratic Senator Don Davis hopes that will change for eastern Carolina if a new ECU Medical School is funded.
Davis says, "So we can increase the graduate education here in eastern Carolina and get more health care providers out into rural areas."
But the funding for that is included in the proposed state budget, which Governor Cooper says he won't pass without Medicaid expansion.
Davis says adding the expansion would help to close the coverage gap. "Both of these are dealing with access to care and the cost of care which the study itself showed us ranked dead last."
Humphrey acknowledges that Medicaid expansion has many benefits for eastern Carolina, but he also says it may be complicated to add it to the budget now. "The federal government, while they're gonna pay 90% of the premiums, 90% of the cost, we don't know how long they can sustain that and that's what has a lot of people in the general assembly concerned."
The study ranked Alaska the worst state for healthcare overall, while Minnesota was declared the best.