No longer content to just badmouth and vilify hardworking Americans, it seems the right has started actively trying to kill them.
In NC, the legislature has voted to deny 600,000 people access to health care by refusing to expand Medicaid, even though it would bring down billions in federal dollars and create 25,000 jobs, not to mention save lives.
This move will mean more suffering among the more than half-million people who can’t gain access to health care. We’re talking about more heart attacks and strokes, more complications from diabetes — kidney failure, blindness, limb amputations — more advanced cancers, more intractable mental illnesses, more asthma emergencies … the list goes on.
The legislature’s choice of a twisted ideology over compassion and decency will increase medical costs and people will still suffer and die unnecessarily.
And if you’ve been unlucky enough to have your job shipped overseas, that’s too bad too because the legislature has voted to overhaul unemployment insurance by slashing benefits and the amount of time people are eligible to receive them. North Carolina now has the shortest compensation time in the country — in some cases just 12 weeks.
Not to mention that when people lose their jobs they also lose their health benefits, but our legislators don’t care about that.
My inbox is full of e-mails begging me to sign one petition or another to prevent the North Carolina GOP from de-funding education, raping the environment, rigging taxes so the rich pay less and the rest of us pay more, punishing workers for wanting to make a living wage, making a naked power grab by firing everyone on state regulatory commissions …
I can’t keep up with it all, and that’s just in North Carolina.
In Washington, the GOP is still refusing to cooperate with anything the President wants to do.
They’re filibustering against Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of Defense; they’re saying they’ll block a minimum wage increase, they’re slowing down gun safety laws, and the House GOP is still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
I’m exhausted from e-mailing and calling and traveling to try and get these people to listen to reason about the Medicaid expansion, but I’m just met with a stone wall. My own representative doesn’t answer my e-mails, not does Gov. Pat McCrory.
McCrory did answer an e-mail from my friend, Eileen McMinn, though. He sent her a form e-mail asking if she would donate money to him.
They’re ignoring us, and I suppose they have reason to believe they can get away with it because we seem to be lying down and playing dead.
How many of us have e-mailed, called or snail-mailed our state representatives or governor over these issues? How about our federal representatives? Have we thanked the ones who are doing the right thing? I e-mailed Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, to thank him for voting in favor of the Violence Against Women Act.
There’s a lot at stake here. You may not think you’ll ever need Medicaid, but if your job gets shipped overseas and you get just $350 a week for 12 weeks, what then? How long can you keep making house and car payments? What if you get sick on top of all that?
We are all at risk here, and we all need to take action. Democracy is participatory. If we don’t participate — and by that I mean becoming educated about the issues and voting according to our convictions — this is what we get.
If you don’t know who your representative is in the US House, visit www.hoismyrepresentative.com.
If you don’t know who your state senators or representatives are, you can visit www.ncleg.net or call your county’s board of elections.
If you’re one of those who say, “I’m just not interested in politics,” shame on you! You’re part of the reason we’re in this mess.
Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.