Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

This week’s top entry come from the Fayetteville Observer and it provides another powerful reminder of the North Carolina Republican majority’s most outrageous action (or inaction) of the past four years.  It’s entitled “Clear the political roadblock and expand Medicaid.”

Here are the highlights:

The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land. That may be so for a long, long time to come.

Congress’ failure to repeal and replace Obamacare should change a lot of states’ decisions about health care. At least it should, if our leaders see state government’s primary purpose is to serve the people. In North Carolina, lawmakers have spent the past four years trying to make the health-insurance program fail. They nearly succeeded.

More than half a million North Carolina residents were able to join the ranks of the insured because of the program, but now they are facing breathtaking increases in their premiums, in no small measure because the state did all it could to make our insurance exchange fail. Only Blue Cross-Blue Shield offers policies statewide. In other, more supportive states, there is more robust competition among insurers and premium increases have been smaller.

State political leaders have also refused to expand Medicaid through Obamacare, leaving hundreds of thousands of families who might qualify without insurance coverage. By refusing the expansion, our politicians have prevented billions of federal dollars from flowing into our health-care system and into our economy. Instead, our federal taxes are financing Medicaid expansions in other states.

It’s time for a reassessment of that obstructionist strategy. Repeal-and-replace has failed and North Carolina residents need help improving their health care. Many other Republican-led states are already working to get that federal Medicaid funding before it goes away. That includes Kansas, Georgia, Virginia, Idaho, Nebraska, Arkansas and South Dakota, according to a Washington Post story last week….

Improving the health of North Carolina residents shouldn’t be held hostage to political warfare. But that’s exactly what’s happened here for the past four years. But the war is over. Obamacare is alive and healthier than anyone expected it to be. But many North Carolina residents aren’t at all healthy because they’re still uninsured. Expanding Medicaid will help them, at little cost to the state.

Let’s end the holdout and take care of our people.

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