Editorials

Don’t cry for me, North Carolina

From left, outgoing NC DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos gets emotional as NC Governor Pat McCrory wipes away a tear before awarding Wos The Order of the Long Leaf Pine during a press conference Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, NC. McCrory announced Wos' resignation at the emotional ceremony.
From left, outgoing NC DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos gets emotional as NC Governor Pat McCrory wipes away a tear before awarding Wos The Order of the Long Leaf Pine during a press conference Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh, NC. McCrory announced Wos' resignation at the emotional ceremony. hlynch@newsobserver.com

It was an odd show of emotion Wednesday when both Gov. Pat McCrory and Adona Wos, his secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, choked up at a news conference announcing Wos was resigning.

Why the tears when so many others at DHHS, in the legislature and around the state were relieved?

And why especially the tears from McCrory? “I’ve got a little Boehner in me,” he said. But a weakness for weeping doesn’t explain why a governor would mourn the departure of a secretary whose tenure was marked by foulups that cost taxpayers dearly and cost McCrory a fortune in political capital.

McCrory praised Wos for being one “who took all the bullets and never transferred the blame.” Wos may not have transferred it, but health care providers who were not properly paid certainly pinned it on the governor. He appointed Wos, a physician and a major GOP fundraiser with scant experience in managing large organizations, to run an agency with 17,000 employees that spends billions on health care and other health services.

Some Republican lawmakers were annoyed by the turmoil in the department and Wos’ inability to provide reliable numbers on the cost of Medicaid. Senate Republicans even proposed that their version of Medicaid reform would remove the program entirely from DHHS and place its management under the control of a new agency. Indeed, lawmakers doubts about Wos may well have played a role in her resignation.

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