"State government must do all we can to ensure that everyone in our state is covered by good health care plans that they can afford. It is shameful that our legislature has denied life-saving health care to over 600,000 people in our state, including 13,000 right here in Forsyth County. Public health experts estimate that this lack of health care coverage results in more than 1,000 preventable deaths in our state every year.
The legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid coverage is also financially irrational. The current majority party in our legislature has turned away more than $2 billion a year in federal funds to cover health care for the working poor and other low-income families. This is money that we have already paid in federal taxes; we’re just not accepting it back to help our own people in our state. By that irrational refusal, our legislators are also hurting our hospitals and our economy, foregoing 40,000 jobs that would be created in health care employment with those resources.
Finally, refusing to expand coverage raises medical costs for all of us, even those with good insurance. When poor families cannot get regular checkups and other preventive and early treatment care, they end up in emergency rooms as their last resort. Who pays for that? They can’t, so it is rolled into the costs which hospitals charge to the rest of us.
I pledge to do everything within my power as a legislator and community servant to get this unconscionable policy reversed, and to expand Medicaid coverage in our state. I will also work to improve market coverage and control costs for both those who get their health care under individual market policies and those who get it through large-employer or small-business plans.
Many of the same wrong-thinking legislators responsible for denying health care coverage to 600,000 North Carolinians are also attempting to approve cheap insurance plans which effectively cover nothing. This and other efforts to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act would result in higher costs and poorer health care for women, older adults, children, and all those who have been sick or have chronic medical conditions. I pledge to fight against these efforts to raise costs and reduce care for those who need it most.
Folks who are young and healthy today need to remember—everyone eventually needs health care. The price of saving a few dollars today by opting in to cheap plans which cover nothing means not only that more people who need help now won’t be able to afford it, but also that you will find yourself priced out of health care coverage in your own times of need. After all, the very idea of an honest insurance program is that we all pay in a fair rate now so that we all will have help when we need it.
I pledge to fight against any and all efforts to take away coverage for those with so-called pre-existing conditions, or to target seniors or the sick for jacked-up costs that will knock them off affordable coverage. We can and should improve health care coverage and quality in our state—not take away the progress that has been made in expanding coverage."