Rep. Lambeth’s “working families” healthcare bill

As JLF’s Brenee Goforth posted earlier today, the heartland Institute recommends North Carolina reject calls to expand Medicaid, arguing the state would “need to reduce provider payments, divert resources from other important parts of the budget such as education or transportation, or greatly increase taxes.”

With that in mind, Winston-Salem Journal columnist Scott Sexton analyzes what could be considered a compromise–a bill sponsored by Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth—the “NC Health Care for Working Families Act.” Lambeth’s bill, as Sexton explains, “is a little different than a straight Medicaid expansion.”

It contains provisions for a work requirement, a buy-in (2 percent of a recipient’s annual income for premiums) and a requirement that participants engage in preventative care and wellness. It’s a lot cheaper to manage diabetes than lopping off toes and feet.

As for the work requirement, nobody’s asking for 40 hours in a coal mine. Ten or 20 hours at a part-time job never killed anyone, and there would be exceptions for the elderly, women caring for young children, kids themselves and those who are “medically frail.”

None of that is unreasonable.

Indeed it is not unreasonable, although there are people who believe it is. One of those people might be Gov. Roy Cooper, who “has been pushing for a version of the no-strings attached Medicaid expansion.” Sexton explains the scenario under which Lambeth’s bill could be a key player in budget negotiations:

Say Cooper vetoes the budget and stands firm in his demand for Medicaid expansion. House Republicans no longer enjoy a veto-proof super-majority; leadership may have no other choice but to negotiate.

Compromise, in a democracy, needn’t be a bad word. If or when that happens, Lambeth has a bill that could help break such a deadlock and do some real good for North Carolinians.

These days the narrative is how evil Republicans are; yet in Democrats’ eyes the word “compromise” means “you give us what we want and you get nothing.” I agree Lambeth’s bill could help break this deadlock, but I am not holding my breath.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

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