By John Peters
May 4, 2014
It has been well-documented now.
North Carolina legislators not only refused to accept an expansion of Medicaid in the state — despite the federal government paying the entire cost for three years and the very real prospect that the economic boon to the state would far outweigh the cost once the feds drop that payment to 90 percent — but they actively worked against the measure.
It seemed even as new economic and tax policies were aimed at pushing more people into poverty, state leaders were determined to eliminate as many social safety nets as possible for those in need.
State officials would not even set up a state exchange for North Carolina residents to use in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act, instead trying to distance themselves from anything related to the landmark legislation. No matter that this promised insurance for hundreds of thousands of state residents, or that the increased revenue flowing into hospitals, doctors’ offices and other aspects of the healthcare industry would create new jobs and generate new tax dollars.
By gosh, this was a question of principle — the Affordable Healthcare Act was championed by President Obama and the Democrats, and North Carolina Republicans were going to oppose it at every turn, even if the people of the state were hurt by such opposition. We’re talking politics here, party politics instead of leadership, and the state GOP has done a masterful job at this game.
Now comes word that 360,000 people in North Carolina signed up for private health insurance through the exchange, the fifth highest total in the nation.
Seems that while North Carolina leaders care little for the average state resident, at least the federal government has their collective back.
Now, if only the feds could push through some increase in the minimum wage, because surely the GOP leadership in this state never will — we would guess those “leaders” would repeal the minimum wage altogether if given their druthers. We’ve said it before, North Carolina legislators quite frankly want the poor and working middle class to simply go away, so they will be free to cater to the rich.
At least the federal government is still looking out for those in need in North Carolina.