Letters to the Editor

James E. Maynard Jr.: Tragic inaction

Ned Barnett’s Nov. 8 column “Goodwin: The ‘stubborn tax’ hikes N.C. premiums” highlighted the continuing battle for affordable health insurance rates in North Carolina and the willingness of the insurance commissioner to be more proactive if the current legislature were more cooperative and accommodating.

In the same edition, a column by Rob Christensen (“Despair drives politics of anger”) and a front-page story (“We’re going to open a hospital”) addressing the closing of the Pungo District Hospital are directly related to the issues Barnett addressed.

Christensen spoke to the recent study by two Princeton economists, who revealed the increased death rates among whites in the 45-to-54 age group with only a high school education. The area serviced by the closed hospital is populated by thousands of our residents who reflect the demographic addressed in the economists’ study.

Many of the current legislative leaders represent districts whose populations contain entire communities made up of the same demographic affected by the changes in North Carolina’s economic base.

Expanding Medicaid would allow many of those residents to have access to meaningful and timely medical care. Who do these “leaders” represent? Their inaction reflects nothing less than petulant political selfishness with truly tragic consequences. How short-sighted and sad.

James E. Maynard Jr.