Okay, perhaps a bit hyperbolic, as people die or don’t die due to all sorts of governmental policy decisions– how closely to regulate pollution traffic and automobile safety, how to deploy our armed forces, etc. Yet, when you look at the Republicans refusal to allow the Medicaid expansion in this state, rarely is the connection so necessary and explicit. Roughly half a million North Carolinians who should be getting basic health care– overwhelmingly paid for by the federal, not NC budget– will not be getting that health care due to the choices made by the Republican leaders in this state. And if you think that access to basic medical care for that half a million won’t affect their mortality and hugely affect their quality of life, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Truly, morally appalling. I’ve got a pretty damn good idea What Jesus Would Do and it isn’t this. From the N&O:
RALEIGH — A Republican measure to prevent major components of the federal health care law from taking effect in North Carolina will almost certainly be approved after Gov. Pat McCrory endorsed the effort Tuesday.
The new governor had been a wild card after he expressed caution about the fiscal implications of the legislation and declined for weeks to take a position on the broader bill, which would prevent the expansion of Medicaid in 2014 to roughly 500,000 people and prohibit the state from creating an online exchange for private health insurance…
In explaining his stance, McCrory expressed concerns about whether the federal government would pay its share of the cost to expand in light of the budget deficit, which has exceeded $1 trillion in each of the past four years.
That’s just pathetic. What an utter lie. There is no doubt whatsoever that the federal government will make good on its Medicaid funding just as it always has when we’ve (almost always) been running budget deficits. What really kills me is the pathetic hand-wringing of Dr. Idelogue:
Republican state Rep. Jim Fulghum, a retired neurosurgeon from Raleigh, called such uninsured people “an agonizing problem. “If there is a lack of care, I want to provide it – that’s just my nature and anyone’s in this field,” he said.
At the same time, he is concerned about the rising cost of Medicaid, which makes up 15 percent of the state’s $20 billion budget. The $3 billion cost to the state in the 2012 fiscal year compares to $2 billion a decade ago. The federal government pays about two-thirds of the cost for current participants, or about $11 billion.
“It’s a difficult issue to throw good money after bad,” Fulghum said.
Well, I’m glad to know that Fulghum will at least agonize over the considerable human suffering he will in large part be responsible for. And, if he’s such agony, would it really be so awful to raise revenue to help pay for this, if necessary, into the future. Now, that’s real agony for a Republican. And, of course, this business of just blaming it all on ineffective Medicaid. Does Medicaid have inefficiencies and problems like any other large, complex bureaucratic organization? Of course. But it also hugely important– and largely effective– to providing basic health care to millions of Americans. If the Republicans are so concerned about the damn problems– fix them– don’t deny health care to hundreds of thousands of citizens. Very many of them who are hard-working in low-paying jobs that don’t offer health care.
And finally, McCrory had done a lot to try and maintain his more moderate image. At the time of the election, I said the real question would be whether he would follow the extreme elements of his party right off the policy cliff. Sadly, I think we have our answer.