The Republican mayor of Bellhaven, N.C. has been pushing for his state to expand Medicaid under the health care law, and argues that failing to do so will cost the GOP in the 2014 elections.
Mayor Adam O’Neal places at least some of the blame for the closure of his town’s hospital on the state’s failure to expand Medicaid. He is making a 273 mile trek on foot from North Carolina to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the hospital’s closure, Blue Virginia reported.
Vidant Health purchased the Pungo District Hospital in 2011, but then ended up closing the facility, which had been designated a critical care center.
“We’ve had our health care stolen,” O’Neal said during a speech in Woodbridge, Va. on Saturday, adding that Vidant makes millions each year even though it’s a non-profit. “It’s immoral for a company to take health care away from people and keep your non-profit designation.”
O’Neal argues that North Carolina’s failure to expand Medicaid hurts hospitals in poor areas because they are missing out on federal reimbursements for providing care for those without insurance.
“We need to stop playing politics with this,” he said. “I’m afraid that my Republican colleagues in North Carolina are going to get killed this fall because of Medicaid expansion. There’s 500,000 people in North Carolina that could have insurance coverage the next 2 years and not cost the state a dime, and the state’s not accepting that. Now, if you’re representing the citizens, how can you not do that?”
Watch O’Neal’s Saturday speech:
H/t Raw Story