Eric O’Quinn: Missing the facts

April 8, 2013 

Missing the facts

In response to “N.C. faces a ‘Sophie’s Choice’ on Medicaid expansion” (March 28): I expected a more informed perspective from an expert at a center focusing on health inequalities; instead the glaring inaccuracies in Dr. Christopher Conover’s Point of View perpetuate common health reform myths.

Three specific areas stood out as lacking sufficient factual information. First, he purports “extensive evidence shows the superiority of private health insurance over Medicaid.” I would expect a health researcher to know that socioeconomic status is irrefutably linked to health status. And Medicaid, by design, serves low-income individuals with complicated health histories. It should come as no surprise that individuals with private health insurance have better health outcomes; they were healthier to start with.

Second, implying that the government will take away insurance from the 24.1 percent of those in poverty with private insurance is inaccurate and irresponsible.

Finally, I doubt the 559,000 people below the poverty line who now will have no affordable coverage agree that they would have been “hurt” had Gov. Pat McCrory chosen to extend healthcare to them.

Conover is right. There’s a lot we don’t know. But the 1.3 million uninsured North Carolinians can’t afford to wait while those of us with health insurance debate the merits of their care.

Eric O’Quinn, Raleigh

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