This morning’s best editorial from a major North Carolina news outlet comes from Raleigh’s WRAL.com — it’s entitled “No excuses! Expand Medicaid now.”
Here’s an excellent excerpt:
“State legislative leaders have run out of excuses, as lame as they are anyway, to continue to deny health insurance to at least 500,000 North Carolinians.
North Carolina has the money. Legislators brag about the $1.5 billion in cash reserves. The Senate leadership has proposed a tax-cut package valued at $1 billion and the House has a more modest $224 million program.
Gov. Roy Cooper has a plan to fund it without general fund tax dollars. Cooper has proposed a plan that would “expand Medicaid eligibility to cover 624,000 additional individuals and secure North Carolina’s share of federal funds that would cover 95 percent of the cost of the expansion. Cooper is proposing that healthcare providers pick up the remaining 5 percent so there won’t be any cost to the state’s general fund. State hospital and other health care interests have expressed their support.
Last week’s failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act gives North Carolina an opportunity. States – including Indiana under former Republican governor and now Vice President Mike Pence and 30 others – that expanded their Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act have their programs intact. Other states, like heavily Republican Kansas, have quickly voted to opt into the program that has the federal government picking up 95 percent of the cost.
This is not a matter of choice. The hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians who lack health coverage today aren’t in that position because they choose to be. Rather, it is a lack of economic opportunity, education and other life circumstances not of their choosing.
Extending health care coverage to those most in need is the right thing to do. We’ve yet to hear a good reason not to do it.
The editorial goes on to feature a powerful chart spelling out the number of people suffering and dying, the billions in federal dollars lost and the thousands of jobs not created as a result of the Medicaid blockade. Click here to see it and to read the entire post.