Keith Feather: Steckel unbelievable

April 8, 2013 

Steckel unbelievable

I remain incredulous that our new state Medicaid director, Carol Steckel, has actually asserted that an expansion of this healthcare program for low-income, uninsured North Carolinians would in fact not promote the health of those served (“Baffling comments from Medicaid director,” March 22).

If she really is to stand by her statement, “If I gave 700,000 people who don’t have health coverage a Medicaid card in North Carolina, do you really think they would get healthier?” then why have Medicaid at all?

Steckel’s comment reveals a lot about how our new Medicaid director actually regards the program that Gov. Pat McCrory has appointed her to oversee. What it tells us is that the director of one of the state’s most vital programs apparently doesn’t even believe in its worth. How demoralizing for the many staffers who have devoted their careers to advancing the health care of our low-income residents to have to serve under her in the Division of Medical Assistance.

As Adam Searing, director of the N.C. Health Access Coalition, clearly explained in his Point of View response, “Steckel’s position doesn’t jibe with the facts. ” He cited solid research showing improved health outcomes and lower death rates among poor adults in states where Medicaid was expanded.

Keith Feather, Hillsborough

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