The Fayetteville Observer: Former UNC Coach Roy Williams and fellow coach: Expand Medicaid in NC

By: Roy Williams and Lon Kruger | July 1, 2022

Below is an excerpt from an Op-Ed originally published in The Fayetteville Observer:

Hundreds of talented players, thousands of championship games, and countless miles traveled.

Collectively, as college basketball coaches we’ve had the privilege to encounter many different people from many different walks of life, and one of the most important lessons such experiences have shown us is the important role health plays in determining the trajectory of one’s life.

Access is at the heart of good health.

In basketball, you prepare your players for each season with the right diets, physical training, additional coaches – resources – to be able to go out there and perform their best. In the game of life, it’s not much different.

For one, healthy people are better able to work and contribute to their local economy. Healthy adults can be present and more active in their children’s lives or as they care for aging parents. And healthy families aren’t burdened by the overwhelming financial costs that come with chronic diseases…

A lack of health care access has kept many North Carolinians from getting ahead, but we’re hopeful that could all change this year. In a historic move, the Senate, in a near unanimous vote last month, quickly passed a bill to increase Medicaid eligibility, which would provide access to coverage to approximately 600,000 North Carolinians.

It was encouraging to see so many senators share their motivations for doing so and for them to recognize the reach such a policy could have in so many different communities across our state. They expressed much of the same sentiments we’ve heard over the years: emphasizing how crucial health care is and the many facets of life it affects, the significant potential Medicaid expansion has to revitalize rural areas of our state, and how it could mean a world of different for North Carolinians now and for generations to come.

States that have expanded have seen an uptick in the state economy, increases in jobs and support for our rural hospital centers, enabling them to remain open and able to serve the community.

There are many things you can learn from the game of basketball and apply to everyday life. Persistence and putting in the work are among the most important factors for success, and we argue the same can be said for strong health policy.

…It’s time we make our voices heard and keep them at the forefront. It’s time for our state representatives to stand up for the health of their constituents and the health care system. In our view, this policy decision should be a slam dunk.

Read the full Op-Ed here.