Raleigh, N.C. — State lawmakers decided against expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina, but they are being asked to reconsider.
A group of Democratic leaders and community advocates asked legislative leaders Wednesday to call a special session to reverse their decision and take the federal government up on the offer of funds.
Rep. Larry Hall, D-Durham, has been asking that question for months. He calls the move that leaves 500,000 people without health care immoral.
"Is it possible you could reconsider your decision?" former Congresswoman Eva Clayton asked at a forum sponsored by the NAACP and North Carolina Justice Center.
Medical providers have taken up the banner as well. Dr. Charles van der Horst shared the story of a man without insurance who died within a week.
"These are policies that will cause deaths," he said.
If states agree to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government foots the bill for them for three years, then pays 90 percent thereafter.
That offer is not enough to sway Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake. "Now is not the time to expand Medicaid," he reiterated Wednesday.
"The management of the program is just not there. We have a host of problems to fix," he said, pointing to cost overruns and problems in providers getting paid.
Dollar said he doubts that federal funds would completely cover any costs.
"North Carolina is doing its job. The other side is playing politics," he said.
Instead, Dollar said Republicans was to improve the existing system before they'd consider any expansion.