Advocates for expanding Medicaid in North Carolina scheduled a press conference earlier this afternoon at the Legislative Building in Raleigh.

The event was organized by a coalition of organizations that represent and serve aging North Carolinians.

The $21.1 billion budget, passed through Senate shortly after midnight May 31, proposed cuts to insurance coverage for the elderly, blind and disabled.

Proposed cuts include removing 12,000 people from the Medicaid roll, denying eligibility to North Carolinians in adult care homes.

Those numbers come from AARP’s Associate State Director for Advocacy, Mary Bethel. She planned to attend the press conference and told WCHL the conversation will be centered on the concern of some of the “state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

“To qualify for Medicaid in North Carolina as an aged, blind or disabled individual, your income can be no higher than 100 percent of federal poverty levels,” Bethel says. “Health care costs can be very significant to an older or disabled individual and certainly they need Medicaid to not only get the health care they need to maintain their well-being.”

The budget also includes a $1 million cut to the Home and Community Block Grant, which assists the elderly in staying in their own homes through programs that provide food deliveries, in-home aid and transportation assistance.

Boasting an ever-expanding waitlist of over 16,000 people, the grant will have to be cut by almost 1,500 people who are already receiving outside aid.

Scheduled speakers included the President of the N.C. Coalition on Aging, Kate Castillo, President of the N.C. Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Joan Pellettier, and various representatives from nearly 30 organizations.