To the Editor:
In my business, I deal with many people who are at the bottom of the economic ladder. For them, one car breakdown or one illness can mean financial disaster. Often it means the loss of a job, and any hope of climbing out of poverty. When Rep. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, and Gov. Pat McCrory denied over half a million North Carolina citizens 100 percent federally paid for Medicaid coverage, they guaranteed that many of those 500,000 citizens would never climb out of poverty and that some of them would die.
When asked to justify this callous and spiteful act, they argued that it was necessary because of the terrible state of the existing Medicaid program in the state. As proof of this, they cited a state audit of the North Carolina Medicaid program. The governor claimed that the audit showed high administrative cost, management problems and serious budget overruns in past years. As a result, the governor said that the state was in no position to accept any more Medicaid recipients.
Nine months later, we now know that the governor lied about all of this. On taking office, McCrory appointed his own people to oversee the Department of Health and Human Services. They made strategic edits to the audit to produce the document that showed a department in crisis. None of the claims about mismanagement, high costs and budget overruns were true.
In fact, an innovative program to manage Medicaid costs started by Democratic Gov. Beverly Purdue, called “Community Care of North Carolina” had been studied by two national groups as a model for cost savings and care management. This program has been replicated in a number of states as a model of Medicaid delivery. All positive references to this program were edited out the report by McCrory’s appointees.
Republicans really don’t believe in any form of public assistance. They have long opposed Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits and now the Affordable Care Act. They have a right to that belief, and they have a right to act on that belief when they are in power. They do not have a right to lie about facts to justify their actions. It is clear they wish to hide their real beliefs from the voters.
The denial of Medicaid to over 500,000 low-income and uninsured North Carolina citizens will go down as one of the most fiscally irresponsible and deplorable acts of this legislature. Our federal tax dollars already paid for this Medicaid expansion which will now go to other states. Every emergency room visit by one of those 500,000 people will cost each of us more money in higher health insurance premiums. The cost in human suffering cannot be calculated.