Commentary

Drumbeat of pro-Medicaid expansion editorials continues

In case you missed it, the Wilmington Star-News had another fine editorial Friday promoting the Governor’s proposal for Medicaid expansion. In addition to highlighting the compelling reasons to expand, the editorial debunks the right’s complaint that it would be too costly:

That argument, however, ignores the fact that NOT expanding Medicaid is already costing us money.

New Hanover County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jonathan Barfield, for example, pointed out that local hospitals have to write off some $41 million a year, mainly because uninsured folks use the emergency room as a primary care clinic. The hospitals can’t just run these people off, so the money gets passed along in the already-hefty bills for those able to pay. Many of these folks would be covered under Medicaid expansion.

Here’s the fine conclusion to “The case for Medicaid expansion”:

Without health insurance, many workers forgo preventive care; conditions often go undiagnosed until they land a patient in the hospital for much more serious — and expensive — treatment.

Such scenarios are hitting rural areas especially hard, putting the future of hospitals in those areas in serious jeopardy and worsening the already-stark disparities between rural and urban parts of the state.

Some business leaders have argued that going without expansion will impede innovation. Workers with ideas are reluctant to give up company health plans in order to go out on their own and, perhaps, form new, job-generating companies.

The problem of extending health care coverage to everyone in society who needs it is a complex one, and it will undoubtedly be a big talking point in the 2020 elections. Extending Medicaid coverage in North Carolina, though, is a sensible first step. It’s about time.

Let your senators and representatives know that this is an important step forward for the future of our state and hard-working families. In fact, it’s a step we can’t afford NOT to take.

Click here to read the entire editorial.

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