Letter: Everyone should get the health care they need

Graphic by Lori Deaton

North Carolina finally will expand Medicaid, the government-run health care coverage for low-income people, on Dec. 1, nine years after the Affordable Care Act was implemented.

As of Dec. 1, 600,000 uninsured North Carolinians will become eligible for lifesaving health care.

While the move is to be applauded, we should remember that the state “reformed” (privatized) Medicaid for those on the rolls already and that lawmakers resisted taking this federal money for nearly a decade while thousands of poor and low-wealth people died from lack of care — at the rate of one or two every day.

What’s worse is that since the end of COVID provisions, some 69,000 North Carolinians have been thrown off the rolls already, and the purge continues, even though most of those found ineligible had only problems with their paperwork, not their eligibility. In the end, according to NC Health News, up to 300,000 could be thrown off the rolls.

North Carolina ranks 46th of 51 (that includes Washington, D.C.) in rates of people who have coverage, with 30.9% of people with incomes below 138% of the federal poverty level uninsured. In Buncombe, the uninsured rate is slightly higher, at 33.3%, 77th out of the 100 counties, and Henderson ranks 95th, with 38.5% uninsured. While those rates will go down, they will not disappear, and with poverty being the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, we should seek to cover people in poverty first — not as an afterthought.

We have a patchwork of health care systems in this country, and navigating our private, for-profit system, our single-payer (Medicare and Medicaid) and government-run (the VA) can be a nightmare, especially for someone who’s poor, working two jobs and still unable to get out of poverty — and more than 70% of those who will become eligible for care are working.

The Poor People’s Campaign has called for the expansion of Medicaid in every state, for protecting Medicare from privatization and its expansion to cover everyone. That would be the best system; it just wouldn’t line the pockets of the wealthiest.

It is time to give Americans — all Americans — the health care they need and deserve.

— Leslie Boyd


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Letters
We want to hear from you! Send your letters and commentary to letters@mountainx.com

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

2 thoughts on “Letter: Everyone should get the health care they need

  1. Voirdire

    why isn’t the far seeing visionary RFK Jr. going on about the the absolute need for Universal Health Care here in the US? Not a word of it from him actually. Hmmm….. the ever present dangers of chem trails et al seem to be more his thing. sigh.

  2. Jt

    They’ll be getting free healthcare while many of us stumble along with high deductibles. Ours is 5k each. We wouldn’t even get free emergency services because we technically have insurance. Every dime up to 5k is out of pocket. Shameful. Jt

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.