To the Editor:
Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and other Republican state legislators voted not to expand Medicaid. Early studies showed this would be a costly mistake. However, a new study completed by the largest non-profit organization devoted entirely to advancing health care for the public, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows just how costly this would be for North Carolina. The state will lose $51 billion in federal funding between 2013-2022. The North Carolina portion of Medicaid expansion totals $3.1 billion. The report shows that for every $1 a state invests in Medicaid, it will receive $13.41 in federal funds.
The governor and state legislature have put forward the “big lie” that the state Medicaid program is too broken to be expanded. The facts simply don’t show a broken system. Data from the Kaiser Foundation show that “the average annual growth in NC’s Medicaid program has declined for the last 20 years.” “Current annual cost growth for Medicaid in N.C. is actually the lowest in the nation and much lower than the national average.” (http://pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2013/06/12/nc-medicaid-success-four-charts-and-one-letter/).
Our state simply cannot afford to give away $51 billion in revenue. This is an awful economic decision. In addition, the fact that we as a state are letting on average four of our citizens die every day starting Jan. 1, 2014, because we are denying 414,000 of our citizens adequate health care is morally appalling and simply wrong. Davis and other legislators can pass a bill tomorrow to change this disastrous decision. Please contact him to correct this travesty.
Ed Morris, MD, PhD