Nancy Walker Benjamin: Back to old South

April 24, 2013 

Back to old South

In the April 14 Nation & World section, your leading article, “Medicaid defied where it might do most good,” reported that North Carolina and eight other Republican-led Southern state governments “have decided not to implement the Medicaid expansion” despite federal coverage of costs for the first three years, 90 percent thereafter. In N.C. alone, 500,000 low-income people will now be denied coverage.

This opposition raises the specter of past Southern blind opposition to federally mandated school integration. Images of Southern governors and white citizens attempting to bar school doors, ugly faces twisted with hate yelling at children and troops, were flashed all over the world, giving a long-lasting image of the South as a backward, ignorant region.

Gov. Pat McCrory’s statement, “Before considering Medicaid expansion, we must reform the current system” does not cut it. It is tea-party, Republican-speak for “Let’s block Obama’s health program any way we can. We do not care a whit about the federal government or our poorest citizens.”

In recent years, people of N.C. have worked together to erase the ignorance and injustice of the past. Are we going to stand by now to see it all undone?

Nancy Walker Benjamin

Chapel Hill

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