RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — On the outside everything looks as happy as the smiles in their photos. There is happiness, but also great worry.

Dana Bango works part-time to care for her father who has cancer and for her mom who has pancreatic cancer and stage 5 dementia. Bango has also been diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s just a little bit scary going into to this not knowing how much debt I’m going to come out of this with,” she said.

The debt the Watauga County resident referred to is due to the fact that Bango doesn’t qualify for Medicaid, because of her part-time work, while at the same time she can’t afford private insurance.

“I’ve just got to be practical and you know I just keep planning ahead and—I don’t know, I just figure I’ll get through it and then I’ll worry about it day by day,” said Bango.

Dana Bango, left, is joined by her mother.

Medical doctors like Lawrence Greenblatt see similar cases far too often.

“We spend more on health care than any other country in the world and yet we still have people who really don’t have access to basic services. I think that’s really unacceptable” he said.

Dr. Greenblatt is an internist with Duke Health and is the Medical Director for Northern Piedmont Community Care which provides practice support, care management and population management for Medicaid recipients.

Dr. Greenblatt said we’re already paying taxes for the federal program that would pay for 90 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.

“Why allow our money to other states to provide medical services? We need it here. We have so many folks who would benefit from this. Their physical health would be better, their mental health would be better, our state economy would be improved, our health systems would shore up, this is just the right thing to do,” he said.

Medicaid expansion would also help keep rural hospitals open, get prescriptions to those who need them and help alleviate crowded emergency rooms.

“There are plenty of folks who end up in our very crowded emergency rooms with health problems that could have been treated elsewhere or could have been prevented had they had access to regular primary care, especially specialty care which is the kind of thing Medicaid would fund,” Dr. Greenblatt said.

The expansion would also help Bango to get the cancer treatment that she needs.

“I think it would be good for everybody, not just me, to get Medicaid expansion,” she said.