Get louder on Medicaid

In 2016, shortly after Democrat Roy Cooper was elected governor of North Carolina, this editorial board urged him to “be loud” in voicing the moderate and progressive positions that propelled him to office.

It was about all the new governor could do in the face of a Republican legislature with a veto-proof majority, but last November, that changed. Voters delivered Cooper a blue wave of friendly faces, giving him more power than any governor, Democrat or Republican, has had this decade.

Now Cooper is once again navigating an issue critical to North Carolina: whether to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid in the state.

Our advice to the governor: Be louder.

Frustrated progressives would like Cooper to veto any budget that arrives at his desk without Medicaid expansion, but to this point the governor has been reluctant to take that stand. We agree with Cooper. We’re not fans of political ultimatums, nor of holding legislative items hostage for the sake of another.

Republicans say they’re having conversations about Medicaid expansion, but thus far they’ve made little progress in getting a legitimate bill to a vote. That leaves Cooper with the other tool he’s had all along: the bully pulpit. With House and Senate Republicans working their way toward a budget agreement, now is the time for the governor to more forcefully and frequently make the case.

It’s not a difficult case to make. Medicaid expansion would bring critical health coverage and medicine to an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians. It would help stem the state’s opioid crisis. It would save lives.

In making that case loudly, Cooper also might force Republicans to make theirs. N.C. Republicans should explain the downside of protecting thousands of constituents from difficult choices about medical care and debt.

Voters also should hear more fully why Republicans are blocking something that 36 states, some with Republican-controlled legislatures, have adopted.

By making Medicaid expansion a more urgent debate, Cooper may nudge Republicans to negotiate a viable compromise.

He should make Medicaid expansion the debate of the moment, and he should do it loudly.

The Charlotte Observer

Freedom and responsibility

We extend sincere “congratulations” to all of Gaston County’s graduates — graduates from schools both large and small, public and private. Now a new period of life will begin for these young people — a period of freedom. For 18 years, their lives have been mainly structured for them by parents, teachers, administrators, coaches.

Now the structure of their lives will largely be of their own choosing. Their education, their employment, their use of leisure time, their priorities and their interests are up to them. The surging independence of youth will conquer common sense more than a few times. But, hopefully, those mistakes and those poor choices will lead to acceptance of, and respect for, the flip side of freedom: responsibility. Personal responsibility is perhaps more important now than it has ever been in our nation’s history.

Responsibility for taking seriously the threats to our environment and working to see that those threats are confronted.

Responsibility for voting, based not on empty slogans and incendiary rhetoric but on an understanding of the candidates and the issues.

Responsibility for building a more caring and cohesive society, one not marked by fault lines between races, economic classes, and young and old.

Responsibility for taking charge of your own economic future through planning and saving for your retirement years.

All of that amounts to young people providing the sort of leadership that has often been sadly lacking from their elders. It amounts to young people navigating through these interesting times with courage and with confidence.

Curious thing about young people. We’ve learned never to bet against them, for they can truly do extraordinary things. So, congratulations again, Class of 2019.

Gaston Gazette

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