NC House, Senate will regret not accepting federal $ for Medicaid expansion

With the backdrop of yet another Republican Governor – this time New Jersey’s Chris Christie – announcing this afternoon that yet another GOP-led state would take the federal money available under Obamacare to extend health coverage to more poor people under Medicaid, I watched our NC Senate and House soundly reject that same federal money this afternoon.

I imagine our own new Republican Governor, Pat McCrory, is going to be staring morosely into his cereal bowl tomorrow morning while wishing his fellow Republican chief executives weren’t making him look quite so bad.  After all, if eight states led by Republicans can manage to figure out how to accept billions of dollars from the federal government to expand health coverage for poor people, it is a question as to why North Carolina can’t seem to get its act together.  Every week North Carolina appears to be joining a smaller and seedier club, a group of states so craven as willing to sacrifice the health of millions of their own poorest citizens on the twin altars of political ambition and just plain contempt for people who make under $15,000 a year.

Really, how much more will it take?  It seems likely to me that Tennessee will take the federal dollars for Medicaid too.  That would leave us sandwiched in proudly with Georgia and, gulp, South Carolina, a state we used to point to as a poor second fiddle to the forward-thinking Tarheel state, but to whom we seem to be rushing to resemble as quickly as possible.

Every day, every new Republican Governor that accepts the federal money, every new media story with whatever new incomprehensible reason our political leaders can come up with to leave our poor without health coverage – these all just make me more and more convinced that Governor McCrory, Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate leader Phil Berger have tickled the alligator just one scratch too far.  Sure, Berger is already trying to raise money off his opposition to Obamacare, and McCrory just seems to be trying to make the best out of a decision he was forced by Tillis and Berger to make, but not expanding coverage in the current environment just makes NC Republicans look pretty extreme.

I got a sense of this in the debates in the NC House and Senate this afternoon.  Democrats like Senator Josh Stein (we’ll have video later) dominated the discussion.  Republicans left their craziest and most disproven arguments at home and most were very, very quiet.  I didn’t interpret this as strategy on a final vote, but rather as dread.  They knew they were too far committed to vote against this crazy train, but as more and more of their fellow Republicans in other states are making the opposite decision before their very eyes, the thought of having to justify rejection of all these billions of dollars and, fundamentally, life itself to the folks back home was no doubt a sobering thought.

 

 

9 Comments

  1. Frances Jenkins

    February 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    As always, Josh Stein, former staffer of Senator John Edwards, played on the emotions of I love Jesus, the children and I love the poor and I want to save them. Even though he does not live with the poor nor does he send his kids to poor schools, Stein loves to make his grand statements to prove he is the smartest senator in the Chamber.This bill had been debated, debated, and debated. He seized on the moment. Stein knows above all others this bill could break the state at the expense of many other programs. Democrats and Bluepoint wait for any moment to show how they are next to God. ( well,not always because sometimes they get fired from the job or their activites get published in the C/O, N/O or parts on WRAL)

  2. david esmay

    February 27, 2013 at 6:46 am

    As always, you got Frances, you got nonsense.

  3. Gene Bridges

    February 27, 2013 at 7:40 am

    As always, Jesus Christ, son of God, played on the emotions of I love Jesus, the children, and the poor, and I want to save them.

    So, according to Frances, you have to live with the poor and send them to poor schools in order to want to help the poor and identify with them.

    That’s a startling admission. Stein is big ol smarty pants, according to Frances.

    This bill has been rammed through in about a month, Yes, it’s been debated a lot, but according to Frances, because of that, them uppity Democrats should just be quiet now.

    Stein knows that men like Mr. Berger have proposed a logically fallacious all or nothing scenario using lies and scare tactics. There are more choices than to simply expand Medicaid or not do so. One could peg the expansion to the Federal Government’s faithfulness to its promises or failure in that regard, but they won’t countenance that compromise in Raleigh, even though states like Florida are doing that. Why is that? Frances is also overlooking the data on the growth of Medicaid in NC as being the best rated of all the states and that the Medicaid Director herself has stated that Medicaid’s problems revealed in the audit will be fixed by June, six months before any expansion would occur.

    Well, to be fair, Democrats do seem to get blamed for all kinds of anti-Christianism these days, don’t they. Shouldn’t they allowed to do something good for a change? What’s more, there’s nothing that galls a Christian conservative more than theological Christian conservatives who are more theologically conservative than they are themselves (let’s say, Presbyterians from the PCA to take one glaring example) showing up, let’s say, a church full of fundamentalist Baptists by taking up a political cause that doesn’t march lock stock and barrel with the pet political ideology of the average Baptist fundamentalists.

  4. Frances Jenkins

    February 27, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I think Blueprint is out in full force. The Democrats speak with a forked mouth. Do as I say and not as I live.If a school does not fit the needs of the children of an elected official, the school does not fit poor children.The Democrats talk the talk but do not walk the walk. As businesses begin to close, there will be no one left to produce taxes for the social program. The federal government is totally broke and to believe adding over two million people nationwide to rolls of medicaid will work, take a deep breath.

  5. gregflynn

    February 27, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Josh Stein’s kids go to public school. There are some 50 trillion cells in the average human body (and about 10 times as many bacteria). Conservatives will trip over themselves to confer citizenship on a 16 cell embryo but don’t give a damn about the 50 year old machinist with kids in college laid off one year shy of retirement diagnosed with colon cancer. It’s kind of hard to produce revenue waiting to be treated in the emergency room. It’s kind of hard to be productive when you’re trying to decide between food and chemo.

  6. Doug

    February 27, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I am sure we will regret expanding a system that already contributes the most to the ~$300 million deficit we have in NC. And has rampant corruption going on such as this:

    http://www.wral.com/suspended-raleigh-business-changes-name-keeps-collecting-medicaid/12155050/

  7. david esmay

    February 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Frances is off her meds again.

  8. Gene Bridges

    February 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks, Doug, you do realize, of course that the reason we know that fraud is going on is because of a nifty new computer program that was installed at the behest of Governor Perdue last year, right? Thanks, Democrats! :)

  9. Doug

    February 28, 2013 at 9:52 am

    If we already have the program, why do we need more $$ from the Feds to install a new program?