Two front-page stories on Aug. 9 reveal a contradiction in the Republican approach to health care. On the one hand, Republican state Treasurer Folwell had to defer implementation of his Clear Pricing Plan because very few providers would agree to his drastic reductions. On the other hand, even though the Republicans in the legislature lack the votes to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of their budget, they refuse to negotiate until he removes Medicaid expansion from consideration.
Both the treasurer and GOP legislators fail to acknowledge that doctors and hospitals must pass the costs of treating the uninsured on to those who are insured. Medicaid expansion would address this problem by providing insurance for as many as 626,000 North Carolinians with incomes below 133% of the poverty level. The federal government would fund 90% of the cost by giving the state $36.1 billion over the next decade.
Our fellow citizens and our economy would both benefit from Medicaid expansion. Moreover, doctors and hospitals should be more willing to negotiate with Treasurer Folwell if they could be guaranteed Medicaid reimbursement.
Such a compromise might serve us until we address the immoral inequities in health care through Medicare for All.