It's beyond lunacy, but it's in the process of happening. The NC General Assembly (our esteemed legislature), under GOP domination, is about to approve legislation denying health insurance coverage to 500,000 North Carolina citizens.
Not only would NC taxpayers NOT be charged extra for this coverage, but it would bring in a half-BILLION federal dollars to the NC economy in 2014 alone. Hospitals, especially rural ones in the toughest economic status, are desperate for this help.
So: Humanitarianism, check; economic rationality, check. But not Ideologically Correct for the radical right ideologues who currently drive state policy.
You may well already know these facts. I'm posting this to make two pitches, which may seem contradictory, but bear with me.
First, call the governor's office.
AARP is running full-page ads in state papers urging people to call Gov. McCrory's office and ask him to accept the federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. It's worth a try. I can't justify not trying to help the 500,000 North Carolinians who'll remain without health insurance if our state stupidly turns down that funding. You can make the point that Republican governors in Arizona and Ohio have already decided that their states can't afford NOT to take the money and get health care coverage for their citizens. You can call McCrory's office toll-free through the AARP switchboard at 800-464-2537.
Seriously, please just do it. It only takes a couple of minutes and costs nothing. McCrory's a politician who's off to a rocky start in Raleigh. A few thousand citizens calling his office in a short time frame might well have an impact.
Second, let your leaders in the NC Democratic Party know that they should raise absolute hell over this, starting immediately. This issue speaks to a core value our party has to stand for if "Democrat" is to mean anything: a fair break for working people who don't earn enough to pay on the private market for an absolutely critical service. This is literally a matter of life or death for thousands of men and women a year in our state.
New state party officers, I'm talking to YOU, friends. There is nothing more important that we will deal with all year. It's time to stand up and let all our remaining members of the General Assembly know that we need their voices now.
So that's two requests: Call McCrory's office; and then contact the NCDP. Both are in service of protecting the life and health of a half-million fellow residents of our state.
[ The wonk details of this issue can be found in the NC Institute of Medicine analysis summarized here: http://www.nciom.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Medicaid-summary-FINAL.pdf ]