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Friday Follies

Lost in much of the reaction to the Census Bureau numbers released this week was the role that Medicaid plays in supporting North Carolina businesses. The Census found that the percentage of people without health insurance stayed the same over the last year, but that that fewer people are being insured at work, with Medicaid and other government programs picking up the slack. 

That makes is especially frustrating when business lobbyists clamor for tax cuts and point to Medicaid as a place to save money to pay for them. Medicaid and other government health care services are increasingly providing health care for employees that business lobbyists say that businesses can no longer afford to cover.

You can’t have lower taxes and increased Medicaid coverage for your employees. It doesn’t add up. It also is a reminder of how short-sighted the Senate was last session for refusing to consider a plan to establish a high-risk insurance pool to help people with chronic illnesses have a chance to buy coverage.

The House passed the plan that came out of a joint health care commission, but Senate leaders claimed they didn’t have time to take it up. People with illnesses will just have to wait until the Senate finds the time to help them.


Things are getting more bizarre in the North Carolina Republican Party’s attempt to win control of the General Assembly. Last week’s Friday Follies reported on a column in the Asheville Citizen-Times by Buncombe County Republican Party Chair George Keller blasting the budget approved the General Assembly this summer.

Keller wrote “legislators who approved this bloated budget should be voted out of office in November,” presumably encouraging voters to defeat the 25 Republicans who voted for the final budget agreement. Well, Keller just made a mistake you might think. But this week, the State Republican Party included Keller’s column in their weekly newsletter.

Apparently the party officials agree that voters should reject Republican legislators who voted for the budget. That ought to make things uncomfortable for Republican Senator Richard Stevens of Wake County, who had the good sense to support the budget.

Stevens is listed as a special guest at an upcoming fundraiser for the Party’s efforts to take control of the House. That’s odd, featuring a Senator at a Party function who the Party apparently thinks should not be re-elected.


Speaking of Republican campaign rhetoric, you have to wonder if Senator Robert Pittenger reads the newspaper. Pittenger’s latest email newsletter complains about the fact the General Assembly increasde the state minimum wage by a dollar (Happy Labor Day) , saying that the higher wage along with “burdensome regulations and high tax rates” leaves little wonder why “we cannot recruit more businesses to locate to North Carolina and encourage expansion of local businesses.”

We can recruit businesses here Senator, in fact we are among the nation’s leaders in attracting new jobs.  Time for a Google search.

The Republicans continue to pound away at Democrats for supporting House Speaker Jim Black. That’s not a surprise but it does put Democrats on the spot, which is where they belong.

The letter to the paper mentions that one delegate who supported the resolution said it was “unwise for Democrats to “chortle” at the troubles of Republican Tom Delay while the Democratic speaker of the North Carolina House faces similar problems.”

True enough. There shouldn’t be much chortling in either party this year about the ethics of their opponents.