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Medicaid expansion proponents 'die' outside Capitol

Posted October 28, 2015

— Demonstrators say the refusal by state lawmakers to expand Medicaid is killing thousands of North Carolinians.

To illustrate their point, dozens of protesters carrying cutouts of tombstones held a "die-in" outside the State Capitol on Wednesday afternoon before marching to the governor's mansion.

"The denial of Medicaid expansion is a form of political and social violence. People are literally dying who don't have to die, simply because extremists in the legislatures and governor's mansions across the South and even here in North Carolina refuse to expand Medicaid, which is morally indefensible," state NAACP President Rev. William Barber said in a statement.

Barber equated the legislative inaction to "serial murder," which prompted a swift rebuke from the North Carolina Republican Party.

"The 'immoral Monday' crowd has accused Republicans of a lot of things, but murder for not expanding 'Obamacare' is over the top and disgusting," Dallas Woodhouse, GOP executive director, said in a statement.

Protesters were calling on state lawmakers to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.

"Because they have refused to do this, people are dying," said state NAACP Health Care Coordinator, Rodney Sadler.

North Carolina spends roughly $14 billion on Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled, and about one out of every five residents statewide receives health care through the program.

Expanding Medicaid would grant coverage to some 500,000 people who fall into roughly two groups:

  • Adults with few health problems who earn less than 100 percent of the federal poverty line. These adults don’t qualify for Medicaid because they’re not among specially covered groups such as pregnant women and children.
  • Certain people whose wages put them above the federal poverty line but too little to be required to buy health insurance on federal Affordable Care Act exchanges.

Estimates of the economic impact of expansion have varied but are significant. A 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report (http://bit.ly/1Rercny) found the state government is forgoing $39.6 billion in federal payments over the next 10 years, with another $10.6 billion loss in payments to hospitals over that same period. Those figures square with a recent George Washington University report on the same topic that said the cost to the state would be roughly $21 billion between 2016 and 2020 in exchange for just $1.7 billion in state spending. (http://bit.ly/1O7Md5A)

Sadler said that the most important impact of Medicaid expansion is that coverage would be life-saving.

"We have refused to help the people out in need in North Carolina, working people," said Sadler.

Lawmakers and the governor have repeatedly said they don’t want to expand Medicaid while still grappling with what they view as problems within an unstable system that has a history of cost overruns. They also point out that the state could be on the hook for a greater share of the cost burden if Congress changes the Medicaid matching rate. Changes to Medicaid matching are relatively rare, according to health policy experts.

Gov. Pat McCrory can’t expand Medicaid on his own. A 2011 law prohibits the governor from making any move to expand Medicaid without permission from the legislature. His administration will have a chance to ask for that permission when it brings a draft plan to rework how the entire Medicaid system works to lawmakers next year.

15 Comments

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  • Donna Dearing Nov 2, 2015
    user avatar

    I did not attack you Mr. Watson, and in my opinion you used the program exactly how it was intended, as a temporary safety net (for some, and your right not all). But not only did I not attack you sir, I provided a suggestion on how an expansion of medicaid could pay for itself. As for my own background, I am within 5 years of my social security and 8 years of medicare and I have been battling cancer since July 2014. So I am not speaking from a pedestal. I thank God everyday that I can continue to work for as long as I can. I thank him for providing me with the best healthcare, Doctor and Hospital in the world 13 miles from my house (Duke) and that I can pay for it with the help of my insurance. My point was that the ACA was suppose to be the all to end all. Healthcare/insurance for everyone.....it is not and we were forced into it....

  • Jeff Herring Oct 30, 2015
    user avatar

    This is a no-brainer. I mean McCrory and the GOP legislature have no brain and no heart.

  • Timothy Watson Oct 30, 2015
    user avatar

    FYI.. I pay for my own health care.... And attacking me is not the answer. To say what someone deserves or not deserves is not your call either unless you are God. You can not judge anyone`s actions, decisions except your own. So it`s my fault that the gov`t shutdown 2 years ago and I lost my job. Could not find a decent paying job for almost 1.5 years, was told I was overqualified mostly. Did many odd jobs just to have gas money to look jobs. Then if I got sick, forget trying to work, which did happen. I now pay the same taxes as some of you if not more. But am I complaining or judging others. And you talked about lazy, don`t want to work and all this. You have walked in my shoes, let me know. I see seniors citizens deciding between medicines and food. & you want to cut them off. This state gov`t is screwing all the middle class, senior citizens and the poor to help the wealthy. & you talked about lazy people. You people kill me with this non-sense and your high and mighty mentality

  • Donna Dearing Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    I'm sorry for your friend Susan. I always tell people, when you have your health you have everything. It is just so frustrating to see my dollars that I work for go to others who are not deserving nor are they appreciative. When was the last time you saw someone on food stamps clip coupons? I pay for schools (no children) but I understand that. I am in Orange County (rural) I pay a sidewalk tax ( I am 10 miles from one), fees for the poor to have cell phones, heat, transportation, breakfast and lunch at school, healthcare and this list goes on...and it always ends up to be never enough. I pay for all this, plus my own expenses. To all the protesters and activists who want more in the way of welfare, medicaid and food stamps...the best thing you can do is make donations to the state and enclose a little extra something every April 15th.

  • Dirk Snedly Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Sure there is...as long as their are printing presses the Gub'mint can "pay" for stuff so it's all "free".

  • Dirk Snedly Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Actually Timothy, it is "un-American" and inhumane for you to insist someone else fund your health coverage.

    Medicaid is one of the prime reasons medical care expenses are rising faster than the rate of inflation. Government intervention has distorted pricing and caused the rampant price increases. It was an awful idea to start with and it failed.

    How about instead of trying to enslave some of us to fund the health care and living expenses of people too lazy to work, people that made bad life decisions (quitting school, becoming an addict, etc..), females getting pregnant solely to get Medicaid, we treat people like adults for a change. They have a right to the fruits of their labors and they have a right to the consequences of their freely made choices.

    Your desires to expand Medicaid is un-American and it makes no sense, it is fiscally irresponsible, immoral and it is authoritarian.

  • Susan West Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    Donna, I agree. Expanding Medicaid would provide a temporary band-aid for a terrible situation that simply has to change. True, it wouldn't help my family, but it would help families that need it, that's important to me. I have a friend in another state who's chronically ill- she used to be a six figure earner. She and her husband have five children who's food allergies are so severe, they're homeschooled. They've become a single income household. She didn't qualify for disability because she couldn't afford the medical care to diagnose her. They did expand Medicaid and she was able to received medical care and she had several life threatening conditions. In my opinion Healthcare Reform has been horrible, it has harmed so many families, I've had nightmares about it. But right now, there is an immediate need to help those people who have been harmed by this miss. Then we need to fix it the big problem.

  • Mike Hill Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    This applies to every program where the demands our made of government to provide for people, there is NOT an infinite supply of money.

  • Donna Dearing Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    Check out the NY Medicaid story just posted on WRAL.......you can add audit the State to the list of investigations.....333 dead people received benefits...SMH

  • Donna Dearing Oct 29, 2015
    user avatar

    Your absolutely spot on Ryan.....that is a whole new thread!

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