Yesterday’s News & Observer included a strong editorial challenging the legislature’s refusal to expand health care to uninsured North Carolinians. They call it out for what it is — pure spite.
Despite what the Republican senators say, the reason behind this bill isn’t prudence. It’s spite.
Basically, Republican senators used the legislative process to take a slap at a just-re-elected president they don’t like. Their action would prohibit the state from establishing a health care exchange as required by the Affordable Care Act. And it will continue having hundreds of thousands of uninsured North Carolinians rely on the emergency room as their only resort for health care.
The proposed Medicaid expansion would include those making 138 percent or less of the federal poverty level, or $31,809 for a family of four. It would be a Godsend to the working poor in North Carolina. But their representatives in Raleigh – yes, legislators represent the poor, or are supposed to – are taking a purely ideological stand and sacrificing the health of these people in the process.
The N & O also points out that no matter what the legislature does, North Carolina WILL have an insurance exchange (marketplace):
Oh, and by the way, it’s useless. For people who make law, it’s mighty curious how they don’t seem to understand that North Carolina is subject to federal law, and thus the state has no choice but to have a health-care exchange. The difference is, if the state doesn’t set it up, thus providing personnel who know the state and would be close to customers, the federal government will come in and do it anyway.
The Senate’s method just gives the federal government MORE control.