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Veteran journalist Bill Moyers kicks off the new year with a documentary that examines this past tumultuous year in North Carolina politics. The Moyers & Company website describes the hour-long doc this way:

‘Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature and they are steering North Carolina far to the right: slashing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, providing vouchers to private schools, cutting unemployment benefits, refusing to expand Medicaid and rolling back electoral reforms, including voting rights. At the heart of this conservative onslaught sits a businessman who is so wealthy and powerful that he is frequently described as the state’s own “Koch brother.”

“State of Conflict” is more than a local story. It offers a case study of what may be the direction of American politics for years, perhaps decades, to come.’

The program airs Friday evening from 10:00pm – 10:59pm on public television (UNC-MX) and again on Saturday from 6:00pm – 6:59pm. If you miss both of those,  the content will be streamed on BillMoyers.com.

For a preview, click below:

Local cooperation, local commitment and hard work by community members across multiple counties were the key ingredients in evidence last week at the NC Justice Center’s community meeting in Roanoke Rapids to explain the Affordable Care Act. Work with our community partners made the meeting  an enormous success that drew over 100 people.  The level of  interest and involvement came through as local health centers, legal aid offices and others in Halifax, Nash, Edgecombe and surrounding counties explained they have people already trained and ready to enroll eligible people in ACA plans starting October 1. Despite all the political back and forth about the ACA in Washington and Raleigh, as enrollment begins next week it is clear that North Carolina’s tradition of local cooperation, volunteerism and hard work are coming together to make the law work for our local communities.

Our Justice Center staff also had the opportunity earlier in the day to meet with pastors from all over the multiple county area. These pastors already have plans in place to inform their communities about the opportunity of the health law and help people sign up who need assistance. Both meetings included extensive discussions about Governor  McCrory’s and the NC General Assembly’s decision to not accept federal money under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid this year to 500,000 people – a decision that has not only hurt our citizens but also played a big part in loss of multiple jobs at the major hospital in Roanoke Rapids recently.

So, while the  political debate goes on, we at the NC Justice Center will continue to work with communities all over the state and make the Affordable Care Act a success in NC:

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greenwayLast week I wrote about the large and immediate cut to pedestrian and bike greenway funding in the NC Senate’s version of the budget.  Well that budget cut is still in the final version.  It’s delayed for some current projects, but puts NC on the road (not bikeway) to funding elimination.  Some folks who have contacted their Senators are getting the usual attempt-to-confuse-the-issue answers from their representatives.  The particular line is the old unpopular budget cutter’s saw, “flexibility.”  As in:  “Oh, we are giving cities flexibility to fund greenways out of other pots of money, so this really isn’t a cut that hurts.”  Well, there is a cut, it is to greenways, and it will mean less money for building stuff other than roads.

Don’t believe me?  Look at NC Senator Apodaca’s quote in Bruce Siceloff’s N+O story yesterday.  I’d say it about sums it up:

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More news today – this time from the Governor’s office – that NC is moving slowly forward with a health benefits exchange under Obamacare.  No surprise – this is an important issue, and even Republican governors now are saying they will likely move forward building health exchanges.

This is good, but a much more critical issue for 500,000 North Carolinians isn’t being talked about.  That’s whether NC will expand Medicaid under Obamacare.   There are nearly half a million people in NC who don’t have health insurance and make under $15,000 a year.  Most would not qualify to buy subsidized health insurance in NC’s new health exchange because they make too little income.  Their only hope for coverage is for NC to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

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