By 4-3 vote, Stanly commissioners reject resolution against Medicaid expansion

Published 2:55 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2023

A resolution from the Stanly County Board of Commissioners which would have shown support against the expansion of Medicaid coverage failed to pass Monday night.

The resolution, introduced at the meeting by Vice Chairman Mike Barbee, was to show opposition to House Bill 76. HB76, according to the resolution in the agenda packet, “is an effort to expand Medicaid in North Carolina.”

Barbee moved to approve the resolution and voted in favor of it along with commissioners Patty Crump and Brandon King. Chairman Scott Efird and commissioners Trent Hatley, Bill Lawhon and Peter Asciutto voted against it.

Barbee said the resolution “is not to step on the toes or bite the hand that feeds us from state officials.” He added “bureaucrats have been pushing this bill for 10 years at least.” Barbee said a clause to give help to obtain doctors and nurses in rural areas was pulled out and put in a separate bill.

Another clause, he said, stated if the federal government failed to uphold the financing, the expansion would be dropped.

“How do you tell 600,000 people two years later (that they) do not have any insurance?” Barbee said.

At last week’s meeting of the local health board, the board voted to not recommend approval of the resolution by the commissioners. Ascuitto brought that up during discussions on the resolution.

“If Medicaid expansion passes, are we going to deny that money in Stanly County?” Ascuitto said.

“Personally, I could never get to that point…once you ring the bell, you can’t unring it,” King responded. “Our staff is already overworked.”

When Ascuitto said the resolution was “like talking bad about these people because they need healthcare,” Crump responded: “That’s not what’s happening at all…you’re just twisting it.”

“We can only accept a few (applications) a week because the reimbursements aren’t that much,” she said. “It’s sad. I want to help everybody; everybody wants to help everybody. It doesn’t mean you are a mean person if you have to stop to meet your budget.”

Crump said increased Medicaid would grow the number covered in Stanly from 25% to 33.3%.

“The lines will be longer,” she said. “Those people will not have as much access as they have now. They already have small access because we have to say no to so many of them.”

King said Medicaid was not “designed to be a way of life. It was designed to help someone when they were down and get them back on their feet and move on. They need to want to better themselves. There’s got to be a sense of that.”

He further asked, “how many able bodied people are sitting at home not working because it’s a better alternative?”

Crump later mentioned a patient with Parkinson’s disease who only got three physical therapy visits.

“Private insurance, you might get 90 days. That is very different…if your Medicaid card only gets you three visits, what good is it?”

Later in board comments, King said, “to the four that voted no…I hope you voted no because you believe in the Medicaid expansion and not because you’re worried about retaliation may come from different senators and House members. I want you to know you are representing the whole county, Stanly, and not the state. I hope you are listening to your constituents.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

email author More by Charles