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Hospital closing because McCrory, General Assembly did not expand Medicaid

Matchbox "Stretcha Fetcha" (1971)

Matchbox “Stretcha Fetcha” (1971)

NC Governor McCrory and NC legislators were warned that there were serious consequences, including possible hospital closures, because of their decision not to accept the billions of dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid.  And not once, but again and again:

““If you look out the rearview mirror, it may look like a sunny day,” said Don Dalton, spokesman for the N.C. Hospital Association. “But hospitals have to look out the windshield — and we see some real dark clouds up ahead because of federal cuts.” Dalton said one-third of all hospitals in the state have operating margins in the red — and more reductions will give them bleak outlooks.”

McCrory and legislators disregarded these warnings with the thought they were just making life hard for the 500,000 lower income folks who will be denied health care next year, but there are bigger consequences for the state too in lost jobs and fewer rural health facilities:

Vidant Health System executives, pointing to North Carolina’s decision not to participate in federally funded Medicaid expansion, stunned residents and officials in Belhaven on Wednesday with a unanimous vote to close the hospital within six months. [read more]

My guess is we won’t see any triumphal press releases from the Governor’s office about the loss of 100 jobs in rural Belhaven.  Instead of groveling about veto overrides of relatively minor bills, McCrory should exercise some leadership and call the General Assembly back in for a session on accepting the billions of federal dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid now that the predicted costs not only to health but also in jobs and to our economy are becoming painfully clear.

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