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On World AIDS Day, New Mexico activists say more money is needed for prevention; ND farmers still navigate corporate land-ownership policy maze; Unpaid caregivers in ME receive limited financial grants.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Israel to protect civilians amid Gaza truce talks, New York Rep. George Santos defends himself as his expected expulsion looms and CDC director warns about respiratory illness as flu season begins.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Amid Medicaid Expansion Debate, Some Foster Parents Lack Coverage

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019   

DURHAM, N.C. — Memorial vigils were held across North Carolina last week to honor people who have suffered or died because they lacked health insurance. Creston resident Richard Horodyski said until last year, he hadn't seen a doctor in more than two decades.

Horodyski has worked in construction and owns a small fruit farm. He and his wife are long-time foster parents. He said many foster parents are caring for children with special needs, while not being able to see a doctor themselves.

"It's a stressful thing, especially when you're working with kids with developmental disabilities. That was who we specialized in,” Horodyski said. “After awhile, we realized that a lot of the children we were getting had fetal alcohol syndrome, so we kind of specialized in that. It was really, really hard."

North Carolina is one of 14 states that have chosen not to accept federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. It's estimated that nearly a half million people, mostly uninsured adults, would become eligible for coverage if the state chose to expand the program.

As of 2015, North Carolina had more than 10,000 children in foster care, and the state is struggling to recruit foster parents. There is little data available on the number of foster parents who lack health coverage, but Horodyski thinks having health insurance might make more people inclined to take on the responsibility of raising children.

"You can go county by county and see the demand. They are begging for foster parents and they're trying to do trainings to focus on pulling foster parents into the system,” he said.

An estimated 11% of North Carolinians are uninsured, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Among adults ages 19-64, an estimated 16% are uninsured.

Disclosure: Blueprint North Carolina contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Civic Engagement, Civil Rights, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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