Roy Cooper can’t do this by himself; neither can I

Roy Cooper is governor, and he wants to expand Medicaid, but he can’t without the approval of the General Assembly, which is still controlled by mean-spirited Republicans.

North Carolina’s new governor announced the other day that he wants to expand Medicaid.

That’s good news, but he can’t do it without the General Assembly. That’s the law in this state because Pat McCrory signed it into law — four years ago, as one of his first acts in office.

This was not part of the last-minute, strip-Cooper-of-his-powers stuff passed by the GA in special session last month; this was very early on, and McCrory was happy to do it. You could tell by the smarmy grin on his face in the photo.

I dogged him for three years before I was finally able to talk to him. He didn’t make appointments with people who disagreed with him — just like the majority leadership in the General Assembly. Instead they had us arrested when we showed up and refused to leave.

When I did corner him, he said he was sorry about my son and I told him his apology means nothing to me until he also apologizes to the families of the up to 8,000 people who died because he refused to expand Medicaid.

The opponents of health care reform have done everything they can, at every opportunity, to kill what little progress we have made in getting access to care to people who need it.

The US Senate took its first steps toward repeal yesterday by putting it into a budget resolution bill, and Democrats announced they won’t fight it. They said they’re going to take a ‘Pottery Barn” approach and let the GOP break it and own it.

Four years ago, before McCrory was elected, Democrats here in North Carolina said the same thing. “Let the Republicans have all of it, and in four years, people will be so disgusted, we’ll get it all back.”

Some 8,000 deaths later, the GOP still has a stranglehold on power here, even though we elected a Democratic governor — one who is powerless to increase access to health care by expanding Medicaid.

If Democrats won’t fight, I will leave the party and support candidates who will fight. If I’m willing to put my life on the line to increase access to health care, the least these people can do is stand up to the murdering thugs who would take it away from 22 million people who have gained access to care via the Affordable Care Act.

Lives are more important than political points.

Let me say that again: Lives are more important than political points.

If we don’t fight, we become as guilty of murder as those who vote to take away access to care.

Yes, I called it murder because negligent homicide is murder, and allowing people to die when they can and should get treatment is negligent homicide.

We need to fight these murdering thugs. We need to stand up and call them out on their crimes.

We didn’t elect Roy Cooper to stand alone so we can shake our heads and wonder why he isn’t expanding Medicaid — or funding education, or taking politics out of higher education, or passing a living-wage law …

Stop sitting on your sofa and shaking your head. Call and e-mail your state and federal representatives, not with links to web sites that express your views, not with form letters, but with your own words.

Tell them their behavior is unacceptable.

Then, if you can afford it, contribute to organizations that will fight these policies — the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and others.

Attend a march so that when the heads are counted, yours will be among them.

You don’t have to handcuff yourself to a Congress member’s chair, but you do have to stand up for what’s right in small ways because, while each voice is small, we are a deafening roar when we speak together.

No one person can defeat these thugs, but together, we can. Work with me here, OK?



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