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:
I 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.
PRADEEP ARUMUGHAM, M.D.
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.