The Republican majority in the North Carolina Legislature, established in 2010, could not have happened without Barack Obama. It was his election two years earlier that sufficiently frightened white folks in the Old North State enough to elect more Republicans to state government than it had in 100 years.
Apparently they feel enough time has passed that they won’t look like hypocrites for adopting one of Obama’s signature policies as president: the ability to expand Medicaid to the states, which would allow people to qualify for free healthcare based on income alone, as opposed to individual state requirements like disability, household size and other somewhat arbitrary factors.
That’s a joke: The modern GOP does not recognize the concept of hypocrisy.
This becomes important when we realize that, though the House and Senate have agreed in theory to a compromise, it will exist inside the confines of the state budget, which then must be passed by the legislature. Anyone who has been watching these last 10 years knows that the budget has become a political football in state politics, and so must understand that this compromise will come with a lot of goodies for right-wingers that won’t necessarily represent the will of the majority.
And so Medicaid expansion, which will bring in almost $10 billion a year in federal funds for individual coverage, behavioral health and rural healthcare, among other things, could come at the cost of teacher raises, which the Republicans have been against, as well as funding for clinics that provide abortions as well as funding for public schools, and could be tied to the elimination of corporate income taxes, all of which can be articulated in the budget.
It would be highly ironic if one of the bedrock provisions of Obamacare — which NC Republicans have been branding as “socialized medicine” since its inception — would be the thing that allows for 0 percent corporate income tax in NC. Of course, irony is another one of those concepts that Republicans in our state do not acknowledge.
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