Tuesday morning Governor Pat McCrory announced he supported legislation that would deny health care to 500,000 low-income people in the state by refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
One of the reasons McCrory gave for his baffling decision was that ongoing federal funding for the expanded coverage was uncertain given the federal budget deficit.
In other words, he doesn’t trust the federal government to keep its word to pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for three years and 90 percent after that.
Never mind that some states have expanded Medicaid with a provision to rescind the expansion if the federal government does not live up to its funding commitment.
It’s a view that has been cited often in the House and Senate debate about the legislation to refuse to provide coverage for 500,000 people, that we simply can’t trust the federal government.
Several lawmakers took things a step further and argued that it doesn’t matter that the federal government will pay for it, that it’s all taxpayer money and spending it only adds to federal budget problems that threaten our grandchildren’s future.
Not long after the folks in McCrory’s office issued his press release announcing his opposition to Medicaid expansion, they issued another one, this time announcing that McCrory was sending a letter to the Small Business Administration in Washington asking for federal help for folks in Watauga County whose homes and businesses were damaged in the storms at the end of last month.
Apparently adding to the federal deficit lost some importance in between press releases.
The hypocrisy is even worse among legislators. If they are serious about all the gloom and doom they foresee from the federal budget situation and truly worried about their grandchildren’s future, they need to get busy with a few other bills.
Surely it is time we refused all federal funding for education, highways, cancer research, public schools, childcare, school lunch programs, etc.
And why are we simply refusing to expand Medicaid?
Let’s stop participating in the program completely. The state could save a couple billion dollars—we could cut taxes on the wealthy with that— and save the federal government more than $10 billion. Think how happy our grandchildren will be.
The 1.5 million people currently covered by Medicaid, primarily children, seniors, and people with disabilities, they can take care of themselves somehow just like the 500,000 low-income adults are currently doing. The emergency rooms are open 24 hours after all.
North Carolina currently receives roughly $18 billion from Washington and those folks complaining about the federal government need to get busy sending it all back.
Then they can take their anti-Washington zealotry back to their communities and explain why day cares have to close and the highway won’t be built and the university doesn’t have room for their child and the program helping them take care of an aging parent is ending and that they are now completely on their own.
Or they can get their heads out of the tea party sand and finally come to grips with the fact that North Carolina is part of the United States and that comes with responsibilities and benefits and also opportunities to work with the federal government to help thousands of people the bristling right-wing lawmakers are supposed to represent.
Either way—at least they would be consistent. The current hypocrisy and potential danger to North Carolina is breathtaking.