June 3, 2019/Press

Winston-Salem Journal Editorial Board: “Medicaid Expansion Now”

In Case You Missed It…Over the weekend, the Winston-Salem Journal editorial board made its case for Medicaid expansion now and cited Senate Leader Berger as the “reason we can’t have nice things.” Last week, the Senate passed a Republican budget which left out a provision for Medicaid expansion.

The editorial notes, “Berger has been opposing Medicaid expansion for so long it’s probably just second nature now. He’s stood in the doorway since 2013.”

Sounds familiar. In 2013, Forest joined McCrory in opposing Medicaid expansion, stating, “‘I applaud the Governor for his thoughtful analysis of the situation and his resolve to do what is right for North Carolina.’” [Triangle Business Journal, 2/15/13]

And in a 2014 speech, Dan Forest praised the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid. The News & Observer reported:

Forest praised what he called the building blocks of the conservative changes happening in North Carolina. He also praised what he called ‘the most aggressive tax reform plan in the United States’; the state’s decision not to set up a health care exchange or expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

For the last six years – even though support for Medicaid expansion has never been higher – North Carolinians haven’t heard anything from Dan Forest on Medicaid expansion.

Will Dan Forest stand with the
majority of North 
who support Medicaid
The full editorial “Our View: Medicaid Expansion Now” can be accessed HERE. Key excerpts follow:
  • Support for Medicaid expansion has never been higher — a poll cited earlier this year by the N.C. Fund for a Conservative Future showed more than 70 percent of North Carolinians in favor. That number included not only 90.1 percent of Democrats, but 66.9 percent of unaffiliated voters and 52.4 percent of Republicans. Numerous medical professionals, business leaders and others want it.
  • Expansion could benefit from 450,000 to 670,000 more residents, giving them access to affordable primary physician care and reducing their dependency on expensive hospital emergency department services.
  • But Berger has been opposing Medicaid expansion for so long it’s probably just second nature now. He’s stood in the doorway since 2013, when the option was first introduced as a function of the Affordable Care Act. Then, Berger argued that the federal government might back out of its promise to pick up the entire cost for the first three years and more than 90 percent after that.
  • But the claim was a scare tactic and a knee-jerk reaction against President Obama.
  • These are not good-faith arguments. They’re excuses. North Carolinians need health care and Berger has not pursued any reasonable course for providing it — he’s only blocked others’ good-faith efforts.
  • He’s right, though, that providing health care for those left out has been a priority for Democrats. Cooper and leading legislative Democrats say that expanding Medicaid for low-income people is their No. 1 priority.