Archived Opinion

Why deny health coverage?

To the Editor:

Many people in our Western North Carolina counties are in a health care coverage void. Through no fault of their own they are among 530,000 persons in the state who are caught in a coverage “gap” between Medicaid and Medicare.  That gap is created when their income level, either too high or too low, disqualifies them from both programs unless NC legislators adopt Medicaid “expansion.” Until then, most people in this gap can’t afford routine doctor visits where health conditions could be treated before they become emergencies. 

We see these persons every day. They are construction workers, early childhood educators, home health care aides, cashiers and service workers in restaurants, retail, hotels and the entertainment industry. These are people who feed their families and pay rent by juggling up to four jobs. Their employers don’t provide health care coverage and when there’s a health crisis, the emergency room is their only option. They live on the margin of our communities and it seems that certain legislators aim to keep them in that place.

This needs to change! Democrat and Republican legislators know that the solution is to pass legislation that provides “clean” Medicaid expansion. This means no special requirements — no fees, no reporting, no extra hurtles that have been judged to be illegal or impractical in other states. 

Many of our representatives and senators know Medicaid expansion is the most fair and appropriate solution. It has already been adopted by 37 other states. Our hospital administrators, doctors and other health professionals agree they will be better able to care for lower income North Carolinians through clean Medicaid expansion legislation. 

Why are Reps. Michelle Presnell, R-Burnsville, and Kevin Corbin, R-Franklin, and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin, denying health care coverage to these people in WNC? 

Paul Smith

Mars Hill 

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