Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

In case you missed it, the Winston-Salem Journal nailed it on Saturday with an editorial simply and straightforwardly headlined “Medicaid expansion now.”

After lamenting the Senate’s umpteenth failure to close the state’s health coverage gap in the state budget it passed last week, the editorial puts it this way:

Support for Medicaid expansion has never been higher — a poll cited earlier this year by the N.C. Fund for a Conservative Future showed more than 70 percent of North Carolinians in favor. That number included not only 90.1 percent of Democrats, but 66.9 percent of unaffiliated voters and 52.4 percent of Republicans. Numerous medical professionals, business leaders and others want it.

Medicaid already serves about 2.14 million North Carolinians — a bit over 20 percent of our population. Expansion could benefit from 450,000 to 670,000 more residents, giving them access to affordable primary physician care and reducing their dependency on expensive hospital emergency department services.

The editorial then goes on to debunk Senate leader Phil Berger’s silly claims that expansion abets socialized medicine and somehow gets in the way of helping people with disabilities. Here’s the conclusion:

Do we really have to choose between health care for people with severe disabilities and health care for able-bodied adults? Everybody needs to see the doctor now and then.

These are not good-faith arguments. They’re excuses. North Carolinians need health care and Berger has not pursued any reasonable course for providing it — he’s only blocked others’ good-faith efforts.

He’s right, though, that providing health care for those left out has been a priority for Democrats. Cooper and leading legislative Democrats say that expanding Medicaid for low-income people is their No. 1 priority.

According to Cooper’s office, “Expanding Medicaid would bring billions of dollars into North Carolina, create thousands of jobs and help 500,000 people get access to affordable health care.”

That sounds pretty good to us.

Even if that picture is overly rosy, it’s a better response to our citizens’ needs than leaving them dangling. We hope, in the ninth inning, to finally see some action on Medicaid expansion that is reasonable, affordable and compassionate.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

Click here and/or see below to learn more about a series of vigils that will be taking place in cities throughout the state this Wednesday evening to honor those who have suffered and died as a result of the state’s failure to close the coverage gap.

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