JOHN RAILEY: Business leaders, pediatricians, say Medicaid expansion is practical and right
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 -- North Carolina has never been closer to Medicaid expansion, but the action is still a long way off in our General Assembly. That's not from a lack of effort. For months, organizations and individuals statewide have waged a well-coordinated effort to push expansion through in our state, one of a relative few in the country that has not gone for expansion. It's past time that happened.Posted — Updated
North Carolina has never been closer to Medicaid expansion, but the action is still a long way off in our General Assembly. That’s not from a lack of effort. For months, organizations and individuals statewide have waged a well-coordinated effort to push expansion through in our state, one of a relative few in the country that has not gone for expansion. It’s past time that happened.
Today at 1 p.m., Care4Carolina, a statewide coalition pushing for expansion, will hold a meeting at Wake Forest Biotech Place in Winston-Salem to rally public support.
The expansion effort has met an equally strong push from opponents, who worry about the costs. The expansion advocates keep pounding away, expanding their bipartisan base. Expansion supporters include Winston-Salem businessman Don Flow. He recently joined 13 other state business leaders in a public letter making the case and addressing the cost concerns:
Many doctors also support expansion, including a group of Winston-Salem pediatricians who joined their colleagues visiting legislators in Raleigh on May 15. One of the local pediatricians was Kimberly Montez. I joined Montez and her colleagues, who calmly made their case to legislators. In a follow-up email to me, Montez said:
One of her fellow Winston-Salem pediatricians, Dan Krowchuk, could not get to Raleigh as he had to stay in Winston-Salem for work. But he, too, made a strong case for expansion in an email to this columnist:
State Rep. Donny Lambeth of Forsyth County, a former executive at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has pushed an expansion bill, HB 655, the NC Health Care for Working Families Act. With a requirement that most expansion recipients either be working, seeking a job or in a job training program, the bill is not perfect. But it still has a chance of being heard in the legislature this session. And there’s a better chance that its expansion principle will make it into the state budget during wrangling between the governor and legislative leaders in a few weeks.
That inclusion needs to happen.
The doctors, business leaders and many others make sound arguments: Medicaid expansion is overdue in North Carolina, for the good of us all.