North Carolina NOW Legislative Update #12 19 April 2021
Black Maternal Health Week was observed in North Carolina with the introduction of Senate Bill 632,/House Bill 507, the North Carolina Momnibus Act, that targets the Black maternal health crisis in the state and addresses the gaps in reproductive health care during the pandemic. The maternal death rate is especially high in North Carolina. We rank 30th out of the 50 states. Nationally Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white or Hispanic women. The United States has the highest maternal death rate of all the Western democracies, and, most alarmingly, the rate has been rising.
There are so many important and interesting articles, we don’t want to lose track of them. In North Carolina, we have the lobbyist involved in the fundraiser being former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer, who told contacts that the fundraiser recipient could succeed House speaker Tim Moore. The 2 year anniversary of the murders at UNC-Charlotte is coming up on April 30 – victim/hero Riley Howell’s mom wrote an excellent op-ed after mass murders in March – people want change. A four-year federal investigation into longstanding Republican claims of voter fraud in North Carolina ended – and found nothing. Young congressman Madison Cawthorn touts the Covid relief funds helping his constituents, although he did not vote for them.
Many of these articles were included in most recent mailchimp email from NC NOW – if you want to receive the emails, fill in a volunteer form and put ‘Add me to email list” and other ways you want to be involved in the ‘What do you want to do’ note.
Under normal circumstances, the short session would focus on tweaking the budget, local bills, and bills that passed one house or the other during the long session. However, these are not normal circumstances. The legislators are so divided along partisan lines that no budget was passed during the long session. Republicans passed a budget along party lines; Governor Cooper vetoed it; and Republicans were unable to override the veto.
NC NOW is capturing some articles on the need for Medicaid expansion here. This is not an extensive list, since NC has refused to expand Medicaid for over 10 years. Since the state legislature again refused to expand Medicaid during a session that began April 28, 2020, there has been another set of articles. Find an op-ed on the need for Medicaid Expansion, written by NC NOW’s state president, at “Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion Again – 5/5/20,” at https://wp.me/p22b2e-2CU. The News and Observer picked it up, but shortened it – under the heading of Expanding Medicaid for coronavirus patients only leaves too many still at risk in NC, 5/5/20. The shortened version ran in the N&O, Durham Herald/Sun and probably in the Charlotte Observer (verifying last one). The Fayetteville Observer ran the whole op-ed, adding a few words and phrases for emphasis. Find it at State Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion – Again.
We Must Expand Medicaid! Read about why, and take action here.
The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already struggling in NC. Now, another NC hospital is filing for bankruptcy. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems in every county if implemented fully. For a deeper understanding of this issue, click here.
Take action here. If you have a personal story, or are religious, you may add reasons from that perspective.
Rural hospitals are cutting services and even worse, closing. Billions of dollars meant to support health care in NC have been sent to other states, to those states smart enough to take advantage of great deal to expand Medicaid. Stop hurting NC’s people and economy, Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. Expand Medicaid NOW! The Coronavirus is exposing how close to the edge many people live with no savings and no health care and so many jobs lost or suspended during the pandemic. More people will die because local hospitals have closed, hospitals that expanding Medicaid would have supported.
NC NOW is sharing Health Action NC’s letter to the NCGA leadership and Governor Cooper to close the coverage gap in NC by expanding Medicaid. 158 orgs, business owners and associations signed on in a matter of days. You can sign a petition urging NC Legislature to Expand Medicaid as an Emergency Response to coronavirus COVID-19.