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Friday, 25 April 2014 22:31

The High Cost of Saying No

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Up to eight rural hospitals across the Palmetto State are threatened with closure or outside takeover because the state is not accepting billions of federal dollars to expand Medicaid to almost 200,000 of the state’s neediest, according to health policy experts.

The South Carolina Progressive Network — a driving force behind this year’s Truthful Tuesday protests, which called for the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare and led to 28 civil disobedience arrests — plans to redirect its energy from demonstrating outside the State House to calling out right-wing lawmakers in their home districts before November’s elections.

The fight to persuade South Carolina's lawmakers to expand Medicaid isn't over, according to a national NAACP executive who was in Aiken on Monday for a town-hall meeting and rally.

Sadly, opponents of Medicaid expansion are touting South Carolina’s refusal to use federal funds to provide health coverage to more than 300,000 South Carolinians, including nearly 7,800 in Florence County. They say that they were successful “in beating back the ObamaCare Medicaid expansion . . . which would have cost our state untold millions once the federal government yanked its portion of the funding away.”

The North Carolina NAACP, the NAACP Branches in Hyde and Beaufort Counties and the leadership of Vidant Health are pleased to announce this morning at 9 am that they have worked out an agreement to keep Vidant Pungo Hospital open.

A small hospital in a coastal North Carolina community will close its doors within months and its parent company says Gov. Pat McCrory's (R) decision not to expand Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care reform law is partly to blame.

I am writing to you today concerning the state of our nation’s health-care system. I am pleased with the progress our nation has made over the past few years. It was good to hear that over 7 million Americans recently signed up for health insurance, exceeding the goals for coverage that had been established by the president’s administration.

North Carolina's three largest papers by circulation gave little news coverage to the Medicaid coverage gap, or the number of North Carolinians who make too much for Medicaid without expansion but not enough for affordable coverage on the exchanges, mentioning the gap in only 8 out of 80 news articles since the end of the previous legislative session. 28 percent of uninsured North Carolinans would fall into the gap including 54 percent of people of color.

Last year’s decision by McCrory and company to say “thanks, but no thanks” to $2.3 billion – a sum paid almost entirely by the federal government for N.C. Medicaid expansion – fueled many of the Moral Monday protests our state has become famous for.

The state's hospitals were key players last year in efforts to lobby legislators to expand Medicaid eligibility as available under the Affordable Care Act.

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