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Editorials: Expand Medicaid now and stop bullying immigrant kids

Here are two morning editorials that ought to be a “must reads” for North Carolina’s conservative political leaders:

The first comes from the Fayetteville Observer and it’s entitled “Yes, Republicans can expand Medicaid too.” As it notes:

Last month, hundreds of representatives from North Carolina hospitals and other health-care institutions brought a united message to Raleigh: Cuts in the Medicaid program are causing them serious economic harm. Further cuts could be disastrous.

That doesn’t begin to consider the financial drain that comes from treating the thousands of North Carolinians who have no health insurance at all – those who are ineligible for Medicaid but too poor to afford conventional health insurance. By law, hospitals must treat them if they show up in the emergency room, even though there is no chance that they can pay their bill….

That’s one reason why officials in Republican-led Indiana changed their minds about Medicaid participation in May, developing a hybrid state-federal system that will bring coverage to more low-income residents there.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican, is using the supplementary Medicaid money to fund a state health-insurance plan for low-income residents. But it will have the same net effect in bringing coverage to those who don’t have it.

That’s a lesson in that for our GOP leaders, who have resisted participation in Obamacare. Don’t resist. Take the money and build a program that works.

The second comes from the Wilmington Star News. It’s entitled: “Instead of bullying children fleeing violence, put blame where it belongs.”

As a nation, this is not our finest moment.

More than 50,000 unaccompanied children younger than 18 – the majority of them fleeing violence, abuse and poverty in their Central American nations – have shown up on our border with Mexico, creating a humanitarian crisis of the sort usually seen in war-torn parts of the world. Our leaders have failed to anticipate and to make any serious effort to deal with the situations in the border camps, while blaming each other for the lack of a rational immigration policy.

Closer to home, the Brunswick County Commissioners joined the fray on Monday, unanimously approving a resolution opposing any effort to resettle these children in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, these children, many of whom were sent north by their parents hoping to spare their offspring the horrors of violence-torn regions of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, are being held in cramped camps or other temporary housing, their fate in limbo.

These kids, alone and far from home, are often met by angry protesters and cries of “Go home.” Away from the borders, Americans angrily cast blame on the president, Congress and the children….

But blaming children for running from horrors we cannot even imagine toward what they see as a safe haven is blaming the victims for the crime. Nearly 7,000 of these unaccompanied children are 12 and younger.

The first order of business must be to ensure that these children who arrived at our doorstep are housed in humane conditions, fed and provided medical care if they need it. And we must work with what passes for governments in their native Central American countries to ensure that we are not sending them back to be slaughtered, abused, starved or pressed into gangs. Why? Because they are children, and we are members of the human race.

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