Medicaid rally held downtown; protestors demand state leaders expand coverage


Dozens of people protested outside the State Legislative Building calling on state leaders to stop denying North Carolinians access to coverage and demanding leaders expand Medicaid coverage. They came to tell state lawmakers that Obamacare is working, but say it could work a lot better if the General Assembly would expand Medicaid.

The group with Organizing for America, which is aligned with the White House, held an action rally Wednesday pressing Republican lawmakers to reverse their decision blocking Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Dana Wilson said the health care program for low-income Americans is her only hope for coverage. The North Carolina State University graduate suffers from multiple sclerosis, and her condition keeps her working full time. She had some pointed words for state lawmakers.

"I feel like it's a personal vendetta because they don't like our president, and so they just will do anything to not accept anything that has to do with him. And it's at the expense of the people of this state," Wilson said.

On Wednesday, ABC11 caught up with North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr, a vocal opponent of Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion, who was touring Wake Health Services in Raleigh -- part of a network of community health clinics across the state providing medical services to low income North Carolinians. Burr is a supporter of the facilities but argues expanding Medicaid is a mistake, and he calls it a broken system.

"To take a system that most health care providers say I'm reimbursed at 72 cents for every dollar, it costs me to delivers care, that's not a financially sustainable model. So expansion is not something I'd support right now but reform would be," Burr said.

Medicaid expansion advocates say it would provide health coverage to 375,000 North Carolinians with the federal government picking up the tab for the first three years.

The legislature goes back in session next month, and GOP leaders have shown no appetite for a new debate on the issue.

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