Editorial: On Medicaid expansion, let legislators vote
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 -- Don't let legislative leaders allow rank-and-file members duck the issue and avoid taking a stand. Citizens elected their legislators to represent their interests. The only way they can know these legislators are being responsive is through their open and recorded votes. Speaker Tim Moore, don't hide behind the partisan caucus walls. Don't let legislators to use secret caucus meetings to avoid duty and accountability to their constituents.Posted — Updated
In the North Carolina House of Representatives it takes 61 votes to pass a state budget bill – assuming all 120 members are present and voting. It takes the same number of votes to amend such a bill, say to add an item, delete an item or to increase or decrease the amount of spending on any provision.
There is nothing in the law or rules of the House that say it requires a certain number of Democrats or Republicans to make up those 61 votes. That may be somewhat of a surprise to House Speaker Tim Moore, who says he won’t allow a vote on getting Medicaid expansion. Moore says his Republican Party caucus won’t support expansion.
Now, there are 69 Republicans and 51 Democrats in the state House. Does anyone, right now, know just how many of those Republicans and Democrats are supporting Medicaid Expansion? Let’s do something that is supposed to happen in a REAL democracy. How about letting the people North Carolinians elected to represent them stand up and be counted. Let them vote on Medicaid expansion.
We wouldn’t be completely shocked if there might be a smidgen of the Democrats who’d oppose expansion. Nor would we be astonished if there were some Republicans who would vote in favor of Medicaid expansion. It’s our hunch there are more than enough Republicans and Democrats who will vote to expand Medicaid.
It is, after all, the right thing to do if you:
- Want to make sure nearly all North Carolinians have access to adequate health care.
- Care about keeping rural health care facilities – particularly hospitals – open and available.
- Want to help people struggling with addiction get the care they need.
- Seek to help stem the spread of COVID virus infections.
- Want to address the stress on other health care needs and services that are related to the COVID pandemic.
If it wasn’t enough to expand Medicaid simply because it is the right thing to do, how about just being a bit selfish.
How about keeping North Carolina’s federal tax dollars at home? In the eight years that North Carolina has refused to expand Medicaid it has shipped more than $16.2 billion in its federal tax dollars to other states that have expanded Medicaid.
How about creating jobs? Since 2014, there have not been 114,080 jobs created that would have been with Medicaid expansion. Most significantly, there are between 3,635 and as many as 12,726 people dead today who might otherwise be alive if they’d had access to health care services they couldn’t for lack of Medicaid coverage.
Don’t let manipulative legislative leaders get away with denying this needed service – that 38 states and Washington, D.C have made available to their citizens – states like Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri.
Don’t let legislative leaders allow rank-and-file members duck the issue and avoid taking a stand.
Citizens elected their legislators to represent their interests. The only way they can know these legislators are being responsive is through their open and recorded votes.
Speaker Moore, don’t hide behind the partisan caucus walls. Don’t let legislators to use secret caucus meetings to avoid duty and accountability to their constituents.
Speaker Moore, free North Carolina’s legislators to vote – openly -- their conscience on Medicaid expansion.
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