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House | May 25, 2016 | Chamber | House Convenes

Full MP3 Audio File



[BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] [BLANK_AUDIO] I'm Senator Floyd McKissick I wanna thank all of you for being here this afternoon for this press conference, I know that lot of the presses covering a bill that's being discussed [INAUDIBLE] committee so I just beg some of them will still be listening in some of them will be joining us, I think the important thing today is that each and every one of you that's present regarding whether you are someone who is a medicate provider, somebody whose concerned about the quality of healthcare in North Carolina, or somebody who would benefit from medicaid expansion, you are all here to support this issue an important issue for North Carolina, is important for a variety of reasons, first of all we have somewhere if [INAUDIBLE] been 330,000 to 500,000 people in this state that could benefit from medicate expansion, those are people that desperately need those healthcare services today. What are they doing? They're going to the emergencies room, they're not getting preventive care and the cost of providing [UNKNOWN] is enormous. And we all bear that cost. The most important thing is that if Medicaid was expanded under the Affordable Care Act as 31 other states have done,

if North Carolina were to do that. It would not only provide health care for these 500,000 people but more importantly we'd also see a significant economic boost in this state. And when I say that what you're talking about the potential for about 43,000 jobs that would be related to health care that would be provided here in North Carolina We're talking about the fact that when it comes to substance abuse, in mental health and about 144,000 people today that don't receive any types of benefits that could be covered if Medicaid expanded [UNKNOWN] in this state. And that is why you've seen so many states go forward with Medicaid expanded care in 31 states and in fact if it's expanding medicaid coverage, I'm hopeful, I'm optimistic that due to the fact right now they are talking about revising medicaid, they are talking about going to a fully capitated system that the federal government in revealing this application will require medicaid expansion as a part of approving this waiver, this 1115 waiver, I think that's critical because we cannot forsake the healthcare needs of 500,000 people, we can not put them on the back burner, we cannot marginalize them, we cannot cause them to only go and get their healthcare needs addressed when there is an emergency at the highest possible cost. We have a commitment to those that need those services, to provide it, we have a mechanism to provide it. We're turning down $2 billion a year right now and of course there was a study done that basically said if we did in fact expand medicaid and even at the point where North Carolina was paying 10% of the cost but it would still pay for itself, it would still pay for itself in their state, there's no compelling reason, no compelling justification for us not doing it, we deserve to have that compassion, we deserve to have that humility but more importantly we shouldn't put people in a compromising situation when it comes to their health care needs. Medicaid now state is a complex issue, but we are working on it, we've gotten to a point where now we are done looking at mounting deficits year after year, what we need to do today is to have the elected officials in the state, listen to you, Listen to each [INAUDIBLE] that have come today, knock upon their doors, greet them, cause them to understand all the people that are within their districts or in the state that need medicate coverage, but more importantly remain committed to this, be relentless because it will not change the today. But what we can do is provide a pathway, a pathway to reconsider where we are, a pathway that allows those that are unserved to be served. A pathway that shows that when it comes to the least of this in our state that we have the compassion that we have the political will that we will provide for their healthcare needs. And that in doing so we will make certain that North Carolina is the type of state that we can all be proud. Jobs will be beneficial, the economy will be stimulated, and we are providing for healthcare needs at the same time so for all of you advocacy Advocacy groups that are here thank you I know I have some colleagues here from the general assembly or representative Gill Sam Queen, Representative Auger, Representative Piers, as well as others who will probably join us today. I wanna thank you for being here, thank you for being committed, thank you for being advocate, but more importantly thank you not just the work that you will do today. But for your relentless commitment to keep this campaign going in North Carolina until the date and the point in time where we we expand medicate coverage for those that deserve and need to be served, thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] I'm Nicole [INAUDIBLE] from the North Carolina Justice Center, I'm going to bring up Sonya Tailor, Sonya is from Ape Bum from Ohoski/g and she's a mum, she's a grandmother, most of all she's an advocate now. And the reason she's an advocate is because she is in the gap, she is here today so law makers can listen to her. I repeat, medicate doesn't cover all people with low income, it does not. And Sonya is this one of those folks who's here today to tell her story. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Good afternoon my name is Sonya Taylor I am 55 years old. I'm a wife, I'm a mother and a grand mother. I have a history of multiple serious health issues. I have also dealt with mental health issues in the past. I have worked most of my adult life until symptoms from degenerative disk disease set my life in a downward spiral.

This is when the medicaid gap as we know it came to impact my life. In 2011, I was a patient at the Center For Scoliosis & Spinal Surgery in Greenville, North Carolina. After all treatment options were Exhausted, I had major back surgery in December of 2011. I had diffusion surgery where I had tube rods and plates put in my back. In 2012, I was just beginning my after care when my daughter, aged out of the system My medicaid was terminated and because of my inability to pay over $200 for visit, my doctor and my surgeon would not see me. I was left /g during my recovery, without my doctor's help, and if it had not been my family, my friends and God's grace, I don't know, what I would have done. I also have a partial plate I worked hard, saved my money, so I could get the general work I needed. I lost my ability to smile having broke My partial plate and I had no way to get it fixed. It's the self-esteem issue, you might say, I say it, but it's bad when you're feeling like you can't smile. Currently I'm experiencing some serious health problems. Having lost both my parents to Cancer and with the symptoms that I present at this time a doctor wants me to have a series of tests and procedures, she wants to rule out cancer or at least get an early enough diagnosis so that it could be treatable, let me take you back now to September 2015, my oldest son's father was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. He like myself failing to do medicate gap not qualifying for medicaid yet too young to get social security in medicare, so by the time he got sick enough to get medical attention, he was basically given a death sentence, we buried him in February, he had to be terminally ill for the state to give him medicate, he only lived five months, being 55 I have seven years before I'm eligible for social security or medicare and I do not want to become another statistic, if North Carolina would expand the medicate program as other states have, I could get the medical and general care that I so desperately need, please I ask you to not to allow my son to lose his mother and his only surviving parent to Cancer or other health issues and this medicaid gap. I am so grateful to be a voice here today for myself and so many other people, thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you so much Sonia. Next I'd like to introduce Dr. Stephen Lukin from Leadsville/g, Dr. Lukin is a veteran family physician from Lokingham Couty and he recently authored an open letter to Senate president Berger and and Governor McCory that ran in the [INAUDIBLE] news records that offered examples of his of patients whose health and life expectancy were endangered because of the state's failure to close the coverage gap, Dr. Lukin. [BLANK_AUDIO] >> I don't even know the lady. >> [LAUGH] >> But I know hundreds like her. Five minutes. My name is Stephen Lukin, I'm a family doctor. For 25 years my brother and I have practiced together [INAUDIBLE] career medicine. I've spent an entire career watching the devastation routinely dropped upon families with no insurance. You name just about any Cancer or serious disease and I can tell you about uninsured patients who delayed coming to see me and often with disastrous results. I've seen uninsured women die from invasive breast cancer, and cervical cancer when they could not afford simple mammograms or check ups. I've hospitalized patients who stopped their medicine so they could pay their bills, I've made weekly house calls for months when a patient dying invasive colon cancer because she simply could not afford the thousands of dollars to get [INAUDIBLE] I've next to next of kin at funeral homes about uninsured patients who ignore their problems until it's too late.

I've watched numerous families down through the ends, into bankruptcy from their medical illness and it surely wasn't because of my bills, I'll tel you that. On and on the stories go. And so with profound sadness and yes some anger, I watched two years ago as our current political leaders decided to put partisan politics ahead of our common humanity when they denied medicate expansions to the poor, this decision was not profile encourage, it wasn't even a recent choice between moral equivalence, this was a life and death and was made with callous disregard to the needs of the poor, I cannot help to think how different things would be if half a million of wealthier residents of our state were some how denied insurance, imagine the outcry from these very legislatures. So, I stand besides the tracks of the [INAUDIBLE] hidden and 500,000 North Carolinian's are still ridding on it and they only take it off the train for the poor and for the working poor seems to be death or disability. Has Senator Berger or Governor McCrory ever once sat down and had a sour discussion with any of the thousands of their constituents in our county that they denied Medicaid coverage, I doubt it, maybe I am wrong, prove me wrong. So, I wrote an open letter on behalf of those constituents to these two leaders, it was published a month ago in the Greensville Paper. I understand it's one of the recommended piece they've ever published not because I'm a great writer, because the issue resonates deeper. The next our esteemed governor also presented an opinion piece, last home encountered 2,300 recommended this, 11 people recommended governor McCrory on the bathroom door. >> [APPLAUSE] In it I spoke of a number of my working poor patients locked/g out of Medicaid coverage, the fellow who in tears told me he had stopped his medicine, you ever seen a grownup man cry? You are about to see one and I have certainly seen it and stated he could not afford his [INAUDIBLE] nor his medicines. He would [INAUDIBLE] to good job at a good factory so he could move home and keep his mum from being put into the nursing home. And for that he was told he is too poor to get insurance coverage in our state. A lady in her 30s with rheumatoid arthritis she can no longer afford the high price medicines which are her only hope to avoid a future of deformity and a future of pain. She wants to keep working. She has told me that but she was told down at the government center that her only hope to gain insurance was to quit and go on disability. This is what our state is telling these folks who want to work. The young fellow with seizures stuck in a cycle of hospitalizations and ER visits. Unable to hold down jobs and therefore off his medicine. And I detailed the plight of a mother of a severely brain damaged child, a child I've cared for since the night he was born, 20 years ago. Now he cannot see, he cannot hear, he's got a feeding tube, he's got a permanent trek/g and his mother is a saint. She has so much within her, she is what has kept this young fellow alive administering his medicine at proper intervals day and night, remaining at his side day and night, and through dozens of hospitalizations and probably a dozen surgeries at this point. But because she doesn't earn a wage for her efforts, fancy that I suppose someone considered her able-bodied without a job. She's got a job, she's got a heck of a job, she isn't left out. She and her husband are left without insurance, he's a farm laborer, they don't make enough money to gain any insurance in our great state of North Carolina. These patients are not any takers looking for any handout, their poor income and family health status are often beyond their control. Who are we to pass judgment? The fact is in your poverty has left all of them uninsurable without medicaid. rejection medicaid expansion may advance some in this building, bonafide and high fives in political circles, but in the real world, the real world where I am, this decision is harming my patients left and right, what kind of politicians would turn their back on these people? Like any family doctor who has practiced for 30 years. I know what is like to make a decision that leads to the death of patience. Your appropriate intervention gone badly, the symptom after consideration mistakenly reassured, I can tell it cuts like a knife. You face the family and you fight back the tears, you wake up in the middle of the night, and all the night in a cold sweat and

you wish you had that moment back. My wife will tell you it's a load to carry, will governor MCcory and senator Berger and the rest of the legislators who voted to deny coverage to my poor patients, you now carry that same weight in my book, you carry that weight. He might not know it, he might not admit it but you carry that weight. Someone in Rockingham county will surely die if someone had not already because of their partisan decision to reject medicaid expansion. The general assembly and to Governor McCrory I ask, please embrace our shared Humanity. You alone have the power to get this done, believe me you do not want a legacy of accelerated death and illness among the poor to chase you into history, and that's what it will do. Reapproach this issue with an open mind and you will experience a change of heart and an open mind that's all is. To the broken down families of the sick, to those too poor to buy seat at this table, I say you've already earned your seat and you're not forgotten and you're not alone in this fight, and thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] [CROSSTALK] >> All right I'm gonna try to do this, so I'm gonna bring up Doctor Charles Van Der Horst. Doctor Van Der Horst, is from Chapel Hill, he's a professor in medicine at UNC School of Medicine. As a leader on the treatment of HIV, he has been so for decades. As a physician, he has seen first hand as Doctor Luke/g has, the direct impact of the State failure to expand Medicaid. I'll bring up another advocate and provider Doctor [INAUDIBLE] [BLANK_AUDIO] >> Thank you. Are you getting tired of me talking about this issue as I am. I try to believe that two years into the affordable care acts with enormous evidence of a success. We have to keep on educating the legislature. Legislature and the governor and the consequences of their decisions. These white coats that we're wearing, Dr. Luky/g and I. These are not just symbols, we take care of patients. I left a clinic this morning to be here as a physician I volunteer in a clinic in Raleigh providing care to the young, working poor who don't have insurance. I see the impact of Governor McCrory's decisions on this people every week, who are they? They build our houses and companies, they feed us, they sell our clothes, they serve our burgers and greet us, they answer our phones and take care of our elderly parents, yet this hard working folks have nothing to prevent them from developing serious and costly illnesses. These North Carolinian's would have been covered by health insurance if North Carolina had joined the other 31 states including 13 led by very conservative Republicans who accepted federal dollars that's federal dollars, not state dollars, to expand medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. This part of the Affordable Care Act would cover 430,000 North Carolinian's whose income falls below a 138% of the poverty level. The decision blocking federally financed medicate and the continuing action by Senator Berger, Representative Moore, and Governor McCrory are having a real impact on the lives of North Carolinian's, it's no shocker that most of the Southern states have refused to expand medicate, this are the same states with the lowest life expectancy in the US, if you have the misfortune to be born in North Carolina you die earlier than if you were born elsewhere. Several studies have shown that the premature death rate in states that expanded medicate decreases compared to states that do not. In North Carolina this means an additional 1000 to 2000 deaths per year that's 1000 to 2000 unnecessary deaths each year, and God help you if you are born in the 14 worst counties in North Carolina and I have a list I can give those to you later, your chances of prematurely dying are twice that of counties like Orange county where capital hill is [INAUDIBLE], where Charlotte is etc, some of you may think it's extreme for me to say that these legislators have blood on their hands but as a doctor when I have a patient die from a preventable disease like colon cancer, breast cancer what can I say, they are the extremists, not I. It's also hard to understand how people claiming to be pro life, determined to protect women and children,

they shout it every day. McCrory goes on national TV that he's protecting our women and children yet he's supporting policies that are leading to the deaths of mothers and fathers. Recently I saw a young patient who'd been working full time in a good job with health insurance and paying taxes. He had severe hypertension or high blood pressure requiring the treatment with four medications but he was doing great. Then he developed a complication which affected his balance, sorta a mini stroke kinda thing, but he still wanted to work, you see he's a good guy, he wants to contribute to society, he likes working, he doesn't mind paying taxes but because of his new disability he couldn't work full time. So in quick succession he was laid off, which was probably illegal that that happened because he was disabled. He lost his health insurance, ran out of his blood pressure medicines and then of course his blood pressure soared high and he began to develop kidney failure. Luckily he found the free clinic where I work and we were able to get his blood pressure controlled again but this young man illustrates both the morally, reprehensible nature of the decision not to expand medicaid as well as the economic [INAUDIBLE] of not expanding. If he goes on to develop kidney failure which there's highly likely he will he'll need dialysis, that cost $7000 a year and whose gonna pay for it, these are tax payers of course, so for one of four medications for the blood pressure we would be on the hook for tens of thousands more so the decision not to expand is not just morally reprehensible it's foolish economically, we have now two years of data from states that expanded Medicaids and there are some clear health benefits to the population, beyond increased deaths, in the country is a whole 19 million people now are newly insured, the average cost increase from mid size and large cooperations is the lowest since 1996, it's the lowest so our health care cost remember we're sky rocketing before the affordable care act listen to this, this might explain that why in the morning enlightened chambers of converse operating in those republican lead states quietly lobbied for medicaid expansion, doctors in hospitals and expansion states have seen a dramatic decrease in unreimbursed care and that's kept the word hospitals from closing, not in North Carolina, we've had several word hospitals have been forced to close because of the medicaid expansion. We're now three years after the legislator and governor McCory blocked federally funded expansion to medicaid for the working poor, so we want to remind our legislators of the impact of their decision, the avoidable costs, the intolerable cruelty and the unnecessary deaths. The Legislature is in session now, let's stop these deaths, listen to the experts across the state and lift the block on medicaid expansion. Thank you so much. >> [APPLAUSE] >> Well I know there's several of the colleagues from the general assembly, i'd like to recognize them at this time if they have any remarks they'd like to make? >> I'm State Representative Garland Pierce and the doctor he did read those off three of my counties Scotland county, Robeson county and Richmond county so that's a sad commentary and I have been on the front line and my colleagues and all I can say is shame, shame, shame, And I just wonder what would the great physician say about this? I know he would say you did it to the least of these you did it also unto me. So we have an obligation as people of goodwill to advocate and continue to knock at the door >> And continue to say what we're saying today, I tell people every knock down is not a knock out. So we just gotta keep fighting and I thank my colleagues, we understand the importance of this, and as I said, I pastor a church so I know many members in my church, my congregation, my community who can not afford to go to the doctor. And that's a sad commentary. All that we have in this great country that we can supplement so many other countries with issues that they're facing but right here in America we can't deal with and particularly in North Carolina. So North Carolina is the target that we're dealing with so I hope that we will continue to pray and keep the faith and know that weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. So we gonna keep right on fighting, keep on believing that everything is gonna work out.

Thank you for allowing me to [INAUDIBLE]. [APPLAUSE] >> My name is sub-lieutenant John Hager I represent part of Buncombe County up here in Nashville. I introduced the Expand Medicaid bill in the House and that evening a reporter called from our home town [INAUDIBLE_AUDIO] citizens asked me a lot of questions and one of the questions he asked was, Who, really opposes this? >> [LAUGH] >> I hadn't really thought about that I pause I said, I've talked to so many health care providers so many of my constituents at home. I have never talked to anybody that was against the expansion of medicaid. We're past time to expand medicaid and we need your help, we're glad you are here and just to let you know there are those in the legislature that are behind you, thanks a lot. [APPLAUSE] >> Thank you, thank all of you for being here, your advocacy work is very important. I am Joe Joe Sam Queen, I represent Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties in North Carolina legislature. What I will tell you is the citizens of North Carolina pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and we pay our Federal taxes. So when they talk about your Federal taxes, they are talking about your taxes, your dollars. The legacy of this governor and this legislature is they have thrown away five billion, so far this year will be seven and half billion of your tax dollars. We pay them, they've left North Carolina, the healthcare is not being provided for our neighbors and our friends in need, the jobs are not here and let me tell you this General Assembly would have a half a billion more tax revenue dollars from the new jobs created by the care Givers for this medicaid expansion, it is without rational, it is nothing but political posturing for no reason find me a reason everything they have said has been clearly shown not to be true for the reasons not to expand medicaid, we make money all eight years when you consider treasure. When I say we the citizens of North Carolina's tax dollars from here and make our economy stronger by loosing those dollars the jobs follow the dollars when we bring those dollars back and spend it on the needs of our citizens we create jobs and we create a stronger economy. This is about all of our future so remember in November. Thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] >> Once again I wanna thank all of you for being here today, we have our workout for us. I can remember sitting on a committee a few years back when we discussed the implications of affordable care here at North Carolina, one component of that was Medicaid expansion and of course, they brought in a speaker to speak about the affordable care act you refereed to as the abominable care act. And you can see he wasn't favoring medicaid expansion and I raise a question to him or do you even believe in medicaid at all he's answer was no. He though medicaid needed to be abolished. I think that's representative of what we are facing in this state and it's certainly a challenge if there are any questions at this time, from the press, from the media we'll certainly be willing to answer them. Not seeing any, once again, thank you all for being here, thank you for your advocacy, thank you for being those understand how medicaid expansion can benefit North Carolina. Working together we're gonna get this job done. And get your friends out to vote in November because at the ballot box we can get people in here who believe in medicaid expansion, and a lot more issues that I am passionate about. That's ultimately the weapon that we have, we can change this state, we can turn it around, it's up to us, it's not just for us. It's about those who don't have medicaid cover today that can benefit but it's more importantly about the next generation and the legacy that we leave. Thank you. >> [APPLAUSE] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO] [BLANK-AUDIO]