Medicaid expansion

NC last in minority health; AMA calls for Medicaid expansion

The independent non-partisan Commonwealth Fund is out with a new report on health-care and North Carolina is ranked last in the country in minority health care.

NC ranked 36 out of 51 states overall, but ranked last with minority health among all states in the nation. We also have some of the most expensive employer health insurance in the country, with premiums 13 percent higher than the national average.

Minorities hit hard by NC Republican's decision to not expand Medicaid

The NC Institutes of Medicine has released a report noting that minorities are being hit hard by the refusal of McCrory and the Republicans refusal to expand Medicaid coverage in the state.

According to KFF, it was estimated that at the end of 2012, the majority of uninsured, non-elderly persons in North Carolina were minorities – 44 percent Hispanic and 21 percent black – compared with 15 percent of whites.

By not expanding Medicaid, “North Carolina has been left out of a major health program,” said Victor Schoenbach, an epidemiology professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. “There is no additional revenue for the state. North Carolina is forgoing millions in revenue and potentially offering fewer jobs in health care than expected.”

Do-nothing Burr inadvertently exposes danger of not expanding Medicaid

Getting his rhetorical wires crossed:

"Today our biggest challenge is to keep delivery points in place," said Burr, noting that four community hospitals in Georgia had closed and rural N.C. hospitals in Pungo and Wilson were facing operating deficits. While lamenting the challenges hospitals face, he also re-emphasized his support for the state's decision to not expand eligibility for Medicaid, the government program designed to pay for care for the poor and disabled.

Several legislators challenged him on the seemingly discordant stances, given that North Carolina's hospitals had lobbied for the expansion as a vehicle for new revenue to offset the cuts in reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act.

The bottom line is, Republicans knew well ahead of time that not expanding Medicaid would cause huge problems for patients and providers, problems they counted on to derail the Affordable Care Act. And as far as Burr pointing to problems in Georgia:

Your Republican Governor

Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can't have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.

Infant Mortality Rises in North Carolina: Black Babies do Better in Botswana

Botswana, a 96% black African nation, has an infant mortality rate of 9.9 per 1000 live births according to the CIA. North Carolina's infant mortality rate rose for the second year in a row in 2012 to 7.4 per 1000 for all babies and 13.9 per 1000 for black infants. Black babies in their first year of life have better prospects for survival in Botswana than North Carolina. Rural counties with high African American populations along the I-95 corridor have extraordinarily high infant mortality rates for a developed nation. Japan's infant mortality rate is 2.2 while the rate in Pasquotank County, NC is 20.4. Yet, Governor McCrory (R) has refused to expand Medicaid to cover the working poor, rejected running a state health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act, delayed funding the Women's Infants and Children program, slashed unemployment insurance, and is attempting to privatize a state run Medicaid program that had been a national model before the great recession hit.

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:

'One million to get health subsidy' under Affordable Care Act in NC

front page story from the Raleigh N&O Sunday:

A massive population shift to subsidized insurance coverage – likely to exceed 1 million people in North Carolina – is underway as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The transformation is expected to be the biggest shakeup in the nation’s medical landscape since Medicare was introduced in 1965.

As the federal government and some states work to get the program up and running, it is becoming evident that North Carolinians will have limited options – at least in the first year of the program.

Out of more than a dozen insurers that now sell individual policies in the state, only three have applied to offer subsidized policies through the new federally run health insurance exchange. Only one of them, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the state’s biggest insurance company, operates in all 100 counties.

Krugman on the stupidity of rejecting Medicaid expansion

Cutting off your nose to spite your face:

And why would they do this? They won’t save money. On the contrary, they will hurt their own budgets and damage their own economies. Nor will Medicaid rejectionism serve any clear political purpose. No, the only way to understand the refusal to expand Medicaid is as an act of sheer spite. And the cost of that spite won’t just come in the form of lost dollars; it will also come in the form of gratuitous hardship for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

There really isn't any sensible reason to do this. It's apparent that nobody did a cost/benefit analysis of rejecting expansion, it was just a knee-jerk reaction. And we will all pay the price for that poor leadership:

The GOP's opposition to Medicaid costs lives

Putting ideology above the health and safety of the citizens:

Today, for example, about 94% of adults under 65 in Massachusetts have health coverage, the highest rate in the nation. The state guarantees coverage through Medicaid or commercial insurance under a plan developed in 2006 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, and Democratic state lawmakers. By contrast, only 68% of working-age Texans are insured, the lowest rate. Residents of the two states also have vastly different health outcomes. Potentially preventable deaths, a measure of the overall effectiveness of a healthcare system, are 36% higher in Texas than in Massachusetts, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The realization of just how inhumane the rejection of Medicaid expansion is, is probably what drove Aldona Wos to desperately try to deflect responsibility. She got caught and exposed by the mainstream media, but they need to take mortality rates like the ones above out of the editorial pages and put them where they should be, on the front page. There is no plane crash or natural disaster that takes anywhere near the lives that cancer does, and refusing to take steps that could prevent those deaths is borderline criminal negligence. If that isn't "newsworthy", I don't know what the hell is. Speaking of shifting responsibility:

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