Commentary, News

Kinston doctor’s letter is an absolute must read for NC legislators refusing to expand Medicaid

The headline of Kinston cardiologist Pradeep Arumugham’s letter in The Charlotte Observer says it all:

“My patient is dead, but at least N.C. taxpayers saved money.”

 Dr. Arumugham leaves no doubt that the failure of North Carolina’s legislature to expand Medicaid to cover thousands of uninsured North Carolinians is costing lives.  He explains:

Arumugham-Pradeep-05056I had the pleasure of taking care of a North Carolina constituent recently. She is in her early 60s with severe heart failure acquired as a genetic abnormality. She works in a small diner here and makes $9,000 a year. She needs a defibrillator, which costs from $50,000 to $80,000.

She does not have health insurance since she cannot afford to buy on the open market. She tried the Affordable Care Act. The cutoff is above her pay so she is not eligible. Since Republican lawmakers are fiscally responsible, she understands why they rejected money that was coming from Washington to expand Medicaid. After all, they have to do what is best for the people in other states that expanded Medicaid or what is best for their friends in the insurance and pharmaceutical industry.

She fully supports GOP policies because, after all, what is one life worth? She also understands that the general Republican thought that Medicaid expansion is a Democratic socialist ploy had nothing to do with why they did not adopt it.

I regret to inform you that she died a few days ago. I am pretty sure she and her family are thankful to Republicans for saving all this money. She totally understands the position that the cheapest patient is a dead patient.


To date, 32 states have acted on Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

North Carolina lawmakers are expected to take-up Medicaid reform this session, but expansion is not expected to be on the table.


Read Dr. Arumugham’s letter in The Charlotte Observer.


  1. Brenda hewitt

    March 21, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    It’s too bad that people have to die because this state refuses accept aid that comes from our taxes

    Do what should be done to help save the our citizens

  2. Becky Grady

    March 22, 2016 at 7:06 am

    Thank you, Dr. Arumugham, for speaking out on the real cost of refusing to expand the Medicaid program. It’s time the career politicians stop wasting tax dollars and begin to help the citizens that they represent. Your letter needs to be reprinted in every NC newspaper just before the election, and again in two years for just before the mid-terms. Let’s start clearing house and get representatives that care about all of the people in Raleigh.

  3. Mike Rodgers

    March 22, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Hmm, one day back of the legislators being back in session just to impose their will on Charlotte would have just about covered that defibrillator.

    Hey, those of you on Jones Street, what do you have to say about this doctor’s letter?


  4. Hope White

    March 22, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    suggestion: Put a few ED physicians on a panel and OVERHAUL the current system in place. It is unbelievable what some people, with their golden Medicaid card in tow, come into the ER for. This should NOT be allowed! The sad truth is there are MANY going without healthcare because they don’t qualify for m’caid and can’t afford insurance. If I recall there were very costly strings attached to the m’caid expansion deal the states were offered. NC tax payer citizens were going to be strapped with the bill. Stop throwing money at problems. STOP THE ABUSE OF THE SYSTEM and get your hands out of my pocket!

  5. Julie S.

    March 22, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Very sad to learn of this life lost. Early 60’s should still have so much to contribute. Many in NC who are on Medicaid are still in their 30’s and 40’s and could contribute to the workforce if their health was stable. In counties with the highest unemployment rates, the lack of a healthy workforce deters companies and corporations from locating there. NC, get your people healthy! The state is beautiful. The weather is fantastic. if you build it, they will come!

  6. Fix Watson

    March 22, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Run for office! Dr. A!

  7. Fox Watson

    March 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Run for office in the NC House or Senate Dr. A !
    Fox Watson

  8. Jea n Patterson

    March 22, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I hope that North Carolina remember this when November comes. If an ordinance passed by a municipality is important enough to call back legislators then why not to sabe a life.

  9. CDWard

    March 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    All of the politicians who played a part in NC refusing the Medicaid expansion should be charged with multiple counts of murder.

  10. Paige

    March 23, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Hope, you are right. I see it in my pharmacy as well. I can’t afford to take a day off and go to my Dr ($50 copay) for every sniffle, rash, or headache. But that’s what many recipients of medicaid do.

  11. The Cat

    March 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    Hope White, I sure hope that if/when NC FINALLY does the right thing for their constituents, that YOU get excluded from that particular benefit. You, too, Paige! Honestly, y’all are just _______S who are only concerned about themselves and not their fellow man. Shame on you.

  12. Tammie Coward

    March 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    The bible is fulfilling, people are lover of themselves, but Karma is a strong force to be reckoned with ,if you take my tax dollars, I rather it be for sick people, only when it happens to your love ones ,then you will have a heart for others

  13. Tee

    March 24, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    Hope White( which I assume is a fake name)

    Your stance on Medicaid is not valid and I know since I am a licensed health insurance agent, but you keep living with your head buried in the sand. SMH

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