Kenneth J. Fortier: People suffering

May 17, 2014 

In the May 9 news article “ Hagan gives strong support to health law,” a spokesman for Republican senate nominee Thom Tillis is reported to contend that Medicaid is a “ ‘broken’ system that needed to be fixed before it could be expanded.” Thus, he defends N.C.’s opting out of ACA expansion of Medicaid that would add coverage for 318,000 to 500,000 residents.

Harvard School of Public Health researchers found Medicaid expansion reduces adult mortality by 6.1 percent so proactive rejection of the legally enacted health care law is causing an additional 2,480 deaths annually in our state. Access to medical care – perfect or imperfect – saves lives. Real people are suffering.

While we debate ideology about government size or when helping those in need might limit motivation, many children will wheeze and sniffle through dreadful nights for lack of care. Arthritic joints will throb, and years will be lost while many of us fuss about heavy traffic while driving past strip malls and sparkle-happy car dealerships. Debates will continue. Laws will evolve.

Meanwhile, let’s remember we were all born people first and ask, “Who are we, North Carolina?” Tillis boasts of leading change here. Shall we take pride in making a political statement at such cost to each other?

Kenneth J. Fortier


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