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Earlier this week, at the behest of local providers and other residents, the Durham City Council passed a resolution urging Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly to stop blocking Medicaid expansion. You can see coverage of the vote here.

And below is the text of the resolution:

Resolution Expanding Medicaid

WHEREAS, Durham prides itself on being the City of Medicine; and

WHEREAS, there are an estimated 18 percent of Durham County residents who are uninsured; and

WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides federal funding for states to expand Medicaid to all citizens earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level; and

WHEREAS, this Medicaid expansion would extend insurance coverage to more than 500,000 North Carolinians and save the state approximately $65 million over ten years; and

WHEREAS, the Durham City Council thinks all residents should have access to quality, affordable health coverage;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

1) The City Council urges the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.

2) This resolution shall be effective on and after its passage, and shall be shared with the members of Durham’s General Assembly delegation.

The pressure to expand Medicaid is not easing. We will see if the legislature starts listening.

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After the legislature passed an omnibus bill restricting access to abortion, women (and some men) assembled a vigil on Blount Street across from Gov. Pat McCrory’s mansion. The idea was to remind him of his unequivocal pledge not to sign any legislation restricting access to women’s health services. It was also a vigil for women’s health generally, which has come under constant attack by the current leadership of the General Assembly.

On Monday evening, instead of engaging with the protesters, Gov. McCrory reversed his campaign pledge and signed the abortion bill. On Tuesday, after at first ignoring the women in front of his mansion, he decided to bring them a plate of cookies. According to news reports he identified a woman to meet him in the street and then delivered her the baked goods while surrounding himself with security. Cookies delivered, he trotted back to his house. Read More

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Members of the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad sent a letter (LWV letter) to Gov. Pat McCrory to dispute his characterization of Moral Monday protesters as “outside agitators.” In fact, “pillars of their community” is a more apt description of the LWVPT. Below is their letter:

June 19, 2013

Dear Governor McCrory:

We are concerned that you and the members of the General Assembly are assuming that the Moral Monday participants are from outside North Carolina and that we are simply agitators. We are neither.

We are members of the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad (LWVPT), a nonpartisan organization with 165 members. We reside in the heart of North Carolina, and we are participants in Moral Mondays. We are thoughtful, intelligent women and men, many with advanced degrees, and all with a wide range of knowledge, business skills, professional abilities, and vast experience as community volunteers. Read More

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In public policy debates it’s common for different organizations to disagree about crunching numbers and examining trends. We often disagree about which states should serve as models for North Carolina. All of that is understandable.

Last week John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, decided to change this dynamic in a column distributed by the Insider. In that column, which is mostly about Medicaid, he accuses groups that disagree with him of lying.

Specifically, he says this claim was untrue:

 North Carolinians were told that regardless of whether the state set up its own Obamacare exchange or allowed the federal government to do so, state government would have to fund the exchange’s operating costs. This claim was false.

Since I was in the middle of that discussion I can report on what was actually said in both public and private debates.

When the legislature this year pushed a bill to reject Medicaid expansion they included in the legislation a provision that essentially turned over all responsibility for establishing a health benefits exchange in North Carolina to the federal government. A health exchange, as a reminder, is the online marketplace where people can shop for insurance. Some people, depending on income, will qualify for subsidized coverage when purchasing a policy through the exchange.

Some legislators and conservative activists argued that it would be fiscally irresponsible for North Carolina to set up a state exchange. What we pointed out, along with a few others, is that whether we establish a state, federal, or partnership exchange, the financing doesn’t change. The federal government will pay for establishing the exchange and then it must be self-supporting.

That means North Carolinians must pay for the operations of the North Carolina exchange.

As we also pointed out, if the federal government operates our exchange then it will be financed by an insurer user fee, in effect a premium tax, on North Carolina insurance companies and insurance purchasers. If the state set up its own exchange we could both control its size and pull from more diverse funding streams. We may not want to load the entire cost of the exchange on to premiums.

It is clear what Hood is trying to accomplish in his column. He wants to say that groups like us lied to legislators and the public about funding the exchange. We, therefore, can’t be trusted when it comes to Medicaid. That is irresponsible and it is misleading. And the Insider should be more cautious in distributing such attacks.