Letter to the Editor
North Carolina is one of a few states that have not adopted Medicaid Expansion, even though 90% of the costs would be covered by federal funds, and more than 400,000 residents would benefit. It ought never be the case that a person has to choose between having insurance or having groceries.
The request for Medicaid Expansion is not an issue of someone merely looking for a handout, nor is it an issue of providing assistance to someone who refuses to work. The simple fact of the matter is that 60% of the North Carolinians who fall into the coverage gap and would benefit from expansion are “working families.”
Many of these persons work in the service industries. The current pandemic has shown us how critical a role our service industry workers play. They have not had the option of working from home, etc., to remove themselves from harm’s way. They have continued to serve in the midst of the dreadful virus, yet many of them cannot even afford insurance for themselves.
It is a cruel irony to think that those who perhaps need health insurance the most, those who have helped guard the health and safety of so many of us, could benefit from Medicaid, but cannot currently do so because we have, at least to this point, neglected to approve Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina!
There is no “good” reason for the fact that North Carolina is among the 12 states that have not approved expansion. Research has shown that states that have expanded Medicaid eligibility have been among the most likely to see decreases in the number of uninsured persons.
Why haven’t we already gotten this done? We cannot allow, and morally should not allow, the political fights of the past, surrounding the Affordable Care Act, to cloud our current judgment regarding what is the right thing to do, which is to get this expansion done as soon as possible.
Maintaining the status quo should not be an option. The status quo would guarantee that thousands will continue to go without medical assistance who could have otherwise been assisted; it would mean that many of the most hard-working among us will not be able to afford the most basic medical attention. “Just say no” to the status quo.
Saying no to the status quo must be accompanied with corresponding action. So, please contact your state representatives by letter, phone, email or all of the above. They need to know that this is an issue that you care deeply about.
If you are a person in leadership, share this issue with your constituents. If you use social media, discuss the issue online. We need to do everything within our power to get this done. Let’s help protect those who have protected us.
Vincent D. Long, Pastor
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal
Zion Church, Spring Lake
Pictured: Pastor Vincent D. Long