I have followed, with keen interest, the efforts of Mayor Adam O’Neal to save the local hospital in Belhaven. I was so interested to see the July 12 news story “ Mayor protests hospital closing” that said he will walk to Washington to take his plight directly to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama.
I would offer a different itinerary. Walk to Raleigh and confront Sen. Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, Gov. Pat McCrory and State Budget Director Art Pope.
The refusal by North Carolina to recoup tax dollars earmarked for the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina is the real proximate cause for the closing of the hospital in Belhaven. Health care practices in rural or impoverished areas of North Carolina would benefit from the expansion, but it would also help the entire economy.
If O’Neal would “stop by” Raleigh on his way to D.C., I’ll happily walk the last couple of miles with him. I’ll even contribute to a first-class ticket home from D.C.
Highlighting North Carolina’s deprivations under the current administration won’t be the first time that the president and the country at large have seen the damage being done here. But Belhaven’s story is powerful.
Vonna Viglione, Raleigh