Archived Opinion

N.C. needs Medicaid expansion

To the Editor:

I read with interest the recent article by Patrick Gleason titled “What Queen didn’t tell readers about budget standoff.” North Carolina is only one of 14 states that have not expanded Medicaid, thus 37 states (including D.C.) have approved Medicaid expansion. The majority of these 14 states are controlled by the Republicans. 

This state’s taxpayers forego billions of their tax dollars paid annually to the federal government which — had N.C. expanded Medicaid — would have come back from the federal government to defray Medicaid expansion costs.  

Starting in 2020 the federal government would pay 90 percent of the expansion cost. If Medicaid was expanded, over 600,000 people in this state who are currently without health insurance would be covered. 

Hospitals are required to provide medical treatment to people without insurance. These costs are difficult for the rural area hospitals to absorb and thus many are closing or being absorbed by larger corporations. However, with Medicaid expansion the hospitals would receive financial compensation. It has been estimated Medicaid expansion in N.C. would create up to 40,000 new jobs. These new jobs would be created in not only the medical field but also suppliers, construction, retailers, etc.

Mr. Trumps brags about being a job creator. To this end one would think the N.C. GOP (supporting Mr. Trump) would support the job creation for expansion? These new jobs would generate millions of additional tax dollars for the state coffers. 

Depending on the source, the states, “The current plan for expansion would cost a total of about $2.13 billion, of which 90 percent, or $1.91 billion, would be paid by the federal government and the remainder by a variety of sources, with assessments on the state’s hospitals being the largest portion.” Mr. Gleason stated the cost to N.C. would be an additional $6 billion over the next two years to be paid in additional taxes by North Carolinians. To this end I support Rep. Queen’s recommendation urging one to contact their elected state official to support Medicaid expansion.

Ron Rookstool

Maggie Valley

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