To the Editor:
In a recent article about the sad state of North Carolina teacher salaries, Rep. Michele Presnell was quoted as follows: “We cannot help education until we get a handle on Medicaid. Obamacare has thrown all these additional people in there. That is the problem with giving educators more of a raise.”
Is something wrong with Rep. Presnell’s memory? Last year she voted for Senate Bill 4, No N.C. Exchange/No Medicaid Expansion. This bill became state law March 6, 2013. Medicaid expansion would have changed the Medicaid eligibility rules, allowing very low-income adults to use Medicaid for their health care. The federal government would have paid 100 percent of Medicaid costs for the first three years, then no less than 90 percent for subsequent years.
However, this did not happen in North Carolina because of Senate Bill 4. All who receive Medicaid in North Carolina are subject to the strict Medicaid eligibility rules set by state lawmakers long before the Affordable Care Act.
The reason the state doesn’t have money to give our teachers a long overdue pay raise is because Republican lawmakers and the governor chose to give big tax cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals while cutting education funding. Rep. Presnell voted for this also.
Any legislator using Medicaid costs as an excuse not to reward our teachers either has convenient amnesia or thinks we are all so stupid we would forget what happened last year.