Editorial: Irrational and irresponsible legislature
Posted March 7
A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, March 7, 2017; Editorial # 8131
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
As many as 290 North Carolinians died in the last two months because the General Assembly has stubbornly refused to accept federal funding to provide health insurance to 500,000 people in the state. That is wrong. The people of North Carolina overwhelmingly agree.
Meanwhile, federal taxes collected from North Carolinians are paying to expand health care insurance to people in other states, like Indiana, Washington, New York and California.
What about those dollars and cents?
If North Carolina had started Medicaid expansion in 2016, it would have gained $2.7 billion in federal funding that year and $4.1 billion this year. The federal government would have paid the entire cost of the expansion in 2016 and 95 percent of the expansion this year. Who wouldn’t invest $205 million to gain $4.1 billion in federal Medicaid expansion dollars?
Our state legislators, blinded by ideology and partisanship, are in court to block Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s new efforts to extend health coverage to thousands of North Carolinians. This comes from an irrational hatred of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. It is shameful.
As promised at the beginning of the year, each month we will post a running total to show the cost of our state’s failure to extend health insurance coverage to those who lack it.
|Diabetics without medication*||81,132||4,508||85,830|
|Annual mammograms missed*||36,153||2,008||38,161|
|Deaths*||3,435 to 1,355||290 to 76||3,725 to 1,431|
|Federal Funding Lost**||$9 billion||$242.4 million||$9.2424 billion|
|Jobs Not Created**||34,700||2,346||37,046|
*Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, Health Affairs Blog
**The Economic and Employment Costs of Not Expanding Medicaid in N.C., Center for Health Policy Research, The George Washington University, Dec. 2014
The cost is much more than mere dollars and cents. It means thousands of women won’t get routine tests that may show they’re at risk for cancer. It means diabetics won’t get access to the medicine they need to stay healthy. It means many families will go bankrupt trying to pay medical bills. It means people will die.
As much as it might be about jobs, economic activity and North Carolinians’ federal tax dollars being shipped elsewhere, expanding health care is more basic. It is about caring for those in need. It is about REAL respect for life. It is about doing the right thing.
This is not abstract. We are talking about our neighbors. It is time for our legislature to do the right thing: Drop the lawsuit and extend health insurance to all of those most in need.