A half-million NC citizens fall into hole created by Republicans

Refusal to expand Medicaid causes unnecessary suffering:

About half a million of the uninsured earn less than 100 percent of the poverty level – $11,490 for a single person and $45,960 for a family of four. They are not eligible for insurance subsidies, and therefore are not subject to a penalty for not buying health insurance. That’s because authors of the Affordable Care Act assumed this group would get benefits through the Medicaid expansion.

Mostly these people who earn too little to get subsidies are healthy adults without children. They are “literally too poor to be eligible,” said Madison Hardee, a lawyer with Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont.

What makes this situation even worse is the sheer ignorance displayed by Republicans on the committee which oversees health issues:

Rep. Justin Burr, a Republican representing Montgomery and Stanly counties and co-chairman of the health care committee, said he’s “very skeptical about any future expansion.”

“So much of our state revenue has been eaten away by the Medicaid budget,” he said. “I certainly don’t think we need to expand an entitlement program.”

Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Republican from Cary and a vice chairman of the committee, said the current state Medicaid program, which has experienced cost overruns and chronic billing delays, needs to be fixed “before consideration can be given as to whether you add an additional 500,000 people to the system.”

He added that the people who would be covered under Medicaid expansion are “relatively healthy and not the ones in most need. If somebody has an emergency and they go to the emergency room, they will always get care.”

The fact that he's still spouting this meme is bad news for health care in our state. The fact is, people have already been over-utilizing emergency rooms, often when their health reaches a catastrophic point, causing billions in losses to health care providers and lost economic growth from ruined credit ratings of the patients who can't pay said providers.

Which is one of the main reasons we reformed health care in the first place, but don't hold your breath waiting for the NC GOP to finally realize that. You'll end up heading to the emergency room.