Opinions

The Never-Ending Problems of North Carolina

 

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Antonio Rivera
Staff Writer

During the last couple of months North Carolina has come to the attention of the entire country because of political drama and controversial policy proposals. HB-2 and its “cancellation”, the recent attempt to ban same-sex marriage and events of racism all seem to be creating the dark cloud that rains over North Carolina.

But one of the things you probably didn’t hear about is the controversy going on in the state legislature regarding healthcare. Recently there has been an uproar over whether or not North Carolina will be taking part in the Medicaid Expansion.

To try to keep the explanation of what I am talking about simple and brief, the Medicaid Expansion is an extension of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare”, and is obviously an expansion of the regular Medicaid program.

The Medicaid program allows low-income families who cannot afford proper medical coverage to have access to health care. Because of Obamacare, the requirements to be eligible for Medicaid became a lot easier and more accessible to more people.

The expansion of Medicaid will put more of the initial intentions of Obamacare into action, while also allowing almost two million more previously uninsured people in North Carolina to get access to the program’s benefits.

32 states have already put the expansion into work, but North Carolina is still one of the remaining 18 states that have not accepted the expansion. The war in the legislature has been a long battle between Democratic governor Roy Cooper and the Republican controlled legislature.

The biggest issue that comes with Republican leadership blocking this expansion is that so many people will be without healthcare. Without health care, many people will have to dish out thousands of dollars for a paper cut. On top of that, these are the people who make the least income in the nation. They people can’t afford huge bills like this, so they need healthcare.

The reality that many people with high income may never know  that people without access to healthcare go years without being able to pay for doctor visits, prescriptions or surgeries. Instead, they live a life of physical suffering and misery.

All of this could easily be avoided if we found a way to make healthcare accessible to everyone, and North Carolina taking in the expansion for Medicaid is the first step in being able to achieve this.

Well why are some Republicans blocking the expansion of Medicaid? It’s because they are trying to use the same tactic they’ve used with plenty of Democrats, including president Obama. The tactic of not allowing Democrats to achieve anything, just to claim they had done nothing while in office, has worked for them in the past. It worked with Obama, and Hillary.

Many Americans still believe that President Obama did nothing – let alone tried to do anything. While Obama was trying to achieve things during his time in office, Republicans blocked essentially many of his advances in trying to make the country better, only to turn around, during the election and claim that he’d done nothing.

This is exactly what is going on between the Republican leadership in the North Carolina legislature and Roy Cooper.

They are trying to paint him out to be some guy that never did anything. As soon as he was elected, the Republican controlled legislature stripped away the rights of a governor, just so he wouldn’t be able to do anything once he was sworn in.

Roy Cooper is simply trying to give access to healthcare to innocent people who would not be able to otherwise afford it, and some Republicans have an issue with this.

One of Roy Cooper’s biggest arguments in the fight for the expansion is that we’re already paying for it. And it’s true. The Medicaid expansion is payed for with federal taxes from all 50 states. Meaning North Carolina’s share of federal taxes is already paying for Medicaid expansion.

If we are going to pay for Medicaid expansion, we might as well get something out of it too. It only seems fair.

It is important that we, as people, see things in a bigger picture. At the end of the day, no matter what the financial situations are, we must have humanity. I believe that this is the biggest thing our country has lost over the years.

The fact that people don’t want to pay more taxes to help people get healthcare is absurd. It shows the ugly parts of our inner souls; that we are so neglectful to the issues and struggles of those around us that we are unwilling to help them and make their life a bit easier.

This expansion allows so many people to have health care, which they badly need. We have to help people, help the government, and each other see this. It is important – the lives of people are literally resting on it. So, it is time that we recognize what we can do for others, and not what others can do for us.

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