Hospital closing because McCrory, General Assembly did not expand Medicaid

Matchbox "Stretcha Fetcha" (1971)

Matchbox “Stretcha Fetcha” (1971)

NC Governor McCrory and NC legislators were warned that there were serious consequences, including possible hospital closures, because of their decision not to accept the billions of dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid.  And not once, but again and again:

““If you look out the rearview mirror, it may look like a sunny day,” said Don Dalton, spokesman for the N.C. Hospital Association. “But hospitals have to look out the windshield — and we see some real dark clouds up ahead because of federal cuts.” Dalton said one-third of all hospitals in the state have operating margins in the red — and more reductions will give them bleak outlooks.”

McCrory and legislators disregarded these warnings with the thought they were just making life hard for the 500,000 lower income folks who will be denied health care next year, but there are bigger consequences for the state too in lost jobs and fewer rural health facilities:

Vidant Health System executives, pointing to North Carolina’s decision not to participate in federally funded Medicaid expansion, stunned residents and officials in Belhaven on Wednesday with a unanimous vote to close the hospital within six months. [read more]

My guess is we won’t see any triumphal press releases from the Governor’s office about the loss of 100 jobs in rural Belhaven.  Instead of groveling about veto overrides of relatively minor bills, McCrory should exercise some leadership and call the General Assembly back in for a session on accepting the billions of federal dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid now that the predicted costs not only to health but also in jobs and to our economy are becoming painfully clear.

15 Comments

  1. NCCaniac42

    September 5, 2013 at 11:40 am

    WOW.. so if you get sick in Belhaven you have to hope you can get to Greenville in a hurry. STUPID STUPID NCGA – Hope their NCGA House rep Paul Tine (D) and Senate Rep Bill Cook (R) fight this closing – absolutely terrible.

  2. russ simon

    September 5, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    He should exercise some leadership and call the General Assembly back in for a session on accepting the billions of federal dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid – … but he wont… because he is not a leader… he is a tea party member, and supports only the 1%

  3. brian

    September 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Here is a video about Pat McCrory and his agenda. http://youtu.be/98vlyzUBL9M

  4. Jasmine

    September 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    It’s sad that hospitals have to close because no one in power holds the medical industry accountable for unchecked rising costs. That is why their patients cannot afford to pay for care, without the added cost of insurance/rising debt.

    All of this misery and chaos of late has been in the name of a free market and competition while revering the rights and “personhood” of a business while exploiting actual people in the name of growing profits.

    When costs grow unchecked in the name of freedom and deregulation, in order to allow corrupt practices that further pad the pockets of the wealthy, Republicans just increase the chance that they’re alienating some of their oldest supporters. Even the people who previously “earned their living” meet the day when they’re displaced and some hiring manager doesn’t think they’re good enough competition for those dwindling job positions and all their self-reliance doesn’t do them any good any more. I guess whether their beliefs survive depends on the amount they have in savings to weather the joblessness storm.

    I just hope the newly unemployed do not meet the day when they borrow money from friends and family and continue to delude themselves into thinking that they’re actually “better” than people on government assistance.

  5. LayintheSmakDown

    September 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    Jasmine,
    The hospitals are in these dire straits BECAUSE of government intervention. The Medicaid/Medicare/and to some extent Health Insurance in general has taken health services from a competitive environment into a quasi-government entity. What happens when government gets involved with anything? You get less of it (as happened in this post), it costs more (spiralling costs), and the product is inferior (some studies say that US healthcare is poor, but that can be debated). It is only going to get worse as our (bankrupt) government gets even more involved.

  6. LayintheSmakDown

    September 5, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    It also looks like you guys are pointing the finger at the wrong party. It is the folks in DC that are blamed here:

    ” and we see some real dark clouds up ahead because of federal cuts.”

    There is nothing (other than the fact they are bankrupt) stopping them from expanding Medicaid on their own, or putting in place a program that they actually have to fund (forever) with their tax money. Too bad Barry, Nancy, and Harry don’t want to step up.

  7. Skeptic

    September 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Beware Southern conservatives. From the slaveholders of old to the retail oligarchs of today, their greed is deadly. McCrory’s policies are little better than Assad’s.

  8. Alan

    September 5, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    LSD… again?

    “The hospitals are in these dire straits BECAUSE of government intervention. The Medicaid/Medicare/and to some extent Health Insurance in general has taken health services from a competitive environment into a quasi-government entity”. Can you cite anything that supports this opinion?

    “You get less of it (as happened in this post), it costs more (spiralling costs), and the product is inferior (some studies say that US healthcare is poor, but that can be debated). It is only going to get worse as our (bankrupt) government gets even more involved”. Can you cite anything that supports this opinion also?

  9. laura rankin

    September 6, 2013 at 5:49 am

    Our govt. is not bankrupt and despite Bushwacking via Iraq, Afghanistan, we ARE reducing the deficit. When politicians stop being puppets for lobbyists $$$$ and actually focus on the needs of their constituents. Jobs, education, healthcare, safe infrastructure, and decent housing.

    How about food on the table for a hungry child, senior citizens and the working 2 jobs or more per day poor!

    Closing a hospital in a rural area without a squeak from the power brokers is exactly what we can all expect in our futures. Thanks Gov. Art Pope.

  10. laura rankin

    September 6, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Our govt. is not bankrupt and despite Bushwacking via Iraq, Afghanistan, we ARE reducing the deficit. When politicians stop being puppets for lobbyists $$$$ and actually focus on the needs of their constituents. Jobs, education, healthcare, safe infrastructure, and decent housing.

    How about food on the table for a hungry child, senior citizens and the working 2 jobs or more per day poor!

    Closing a hospital in a rural area without a squeak from the power brokers is exactly what we ALL have in our future.

  11. Walt-in-Durham

    September 6, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Let’s see, 60 year old building prone to flooding. 25 beds. Losing money for years. Vidant wants to replace the whole thing with a new 24/7 clinic and you blame McCrory? That just does not compute. Try this on for size: Giant for profit hospital chain wants to convert money losing old hospital to money making new clinic.

    Walt-in-Durham

  12. wncgirl

    September 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Our governor couldn’t lead a horse to water… what makes anyone think he can lead a band of idiots to common sense?

  13. LayintheSmakDown

    September 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Looks like you guys are conveniently overlooking the fact that this tiny (1,700 residents) community that actaully should not have a hospital….is actually having the services replaced with more efficient methods. See halfway in the story below.

    http://www.witn.com/home/headlines/Rally-Planned-In-Belhaven-Over-Pungo-Hospital-222194981.html

  14. geek49203

    September 6, 2013 at 11:22 am

    So how much NC education should be cut in order to keep this open? Or do we simply tax people more, in the belief that there are wealthy people who have an infinite amount of money? And speaking of Medicaid — it’s that a Federal thing? You know, with Obama and all, who cut that budget for Obamacare? It’s one thing to decry the situation — which progressives and conservatives do a whole lot. It’s another thing to actually fix it once in office — as the experiment with the community organizer in DC proves.

  15. Adam Searing

    September 6, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    The Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is paid for by our federal tax dollars (which otherwise are now going to states that decided to expand Medicaid). Folks – our federal tax money is spent! With McCrory and the NCGA’s actions, we are just making sure states like Michigan, Maryland and New Mexico (led by both Ds and Rs) are getting our money for health care.