Health Access Study Group

The lack of health insurance coverage is the foremost barrier to accessing health care services. Nearly one-fifth of the non-elderly population in North Carolina, more than 1.5 million people, lacked health insurance coverage in 2006-2007. The NCIOM Health Access Study Group studied ways to expand access to appropriate and affordable health care in North Carolina.
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Co-Chairs
L. Allen Dobson Jr., MD, FAAFP
Vice President, Clinical Practice Development
Carolinas HealthCare System
Representative Hugh Holliman
North Carolina General Assembly
Senator Anthony E. Rand
North Carolina General Assembly
Project Director  Pam Silberman, JD, DrPH
President and CEO
North Carolina Institute of Medicine
Health Access Study Group

There are more than 1.5 million North Carolinians who lack health insurance coverage. People who lack health insurance coverage are less likely to receive preventive services, less likely to have a regular medical provider, and more likely to delay seeking necessary care than those with insurance coverage. As a result, they often end up using the emergency department for routine care or in the hospital with conditions that could have been prevented if treated earlier. The uninsured in North Carolina generally fall into one of three groups: 1) low-income adults, 2) people who work for small businesses (with 25 or fewer employees), and 3) children (many of whom are already eligible for public programs).

2009-2010

The North Carolina General Assembly directed the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) to continue the work of the 2008-2009 Health Access Study Group "to study issues related to cost, quality, and access to appropriate and affordable health care for all North Carolinians." Additionally, the Study Group was asked "to monitor federal health-related legislation to determine how the legislation would impact cost, quality, and access to health care" in North Carolina. (Section 10.78 of Session Law 2009-451). The study group began meeting in October of 2009 and continued to meet throughout 2010. The Study Group reported its findings and recommendations to the Joint Legislative Health Care Oversight Committee in January 2011. Rep. Hugh Holliman, Sen. Doug Berger and Dr. Allen Dobson served as co-chairs of the study group.

2008-2009

The North Carolina General Assembly directed the NCIOM to convene a panel to "study issues related to access to appropriate and affordable health care for all North Carolinians." (Sec. 31 of Session Law 2008-181, 2008 Studies Act). The NCIOM was directed to"seek the advice and consultation of State and national experts in health care economics, health care systems development, health care delivery, health care access, indigent health care, medical education, health care finance, and other relevant areas of expertise." (Sec. 32 of Session Law 2008-181, 2008 Studies Act). The Study Group considered, in addition to other options, recommendations made by the NCIOM Covering the Uninsured and Healthcare Safety Net Task Forces. The Study Group reported its recommendations to the Joint Legislative Health Care Oversight Committee and the North Carolina General Assembly. Rep. Hugh Holliman, Sen. Tony Rand and Dr. Allen Dobson served as co-chairs of the study group.