The North Carolina legislative building witnessed an emotional plea last week as Beaufort County resident Anthony Brooks raised an alarming concern about the delay in Medicaid expansion.
Anthony Brooks Sounds the Alarm
Standing tall amidst a backdrop of echoing hallways, Anthony Brooks sifted through paperwork, drawing attention to the imminent loss of his Medicaid coverage. “This is more than just paperwork,” said Anthony Brooks, highlighting a letter that informed him of his impending removal from the Medicaid program. For Brooks, this isn’t just about numbers or political debates; it’s about life and death. Anthony Brooks needs a surgically implanted defibrillator, a procedure he cannot afford without insurance. Anthony Brooks income is a mere $7 over the limit to qualify for Medicaid, a threshold he would comfortably fit under if the Medicaid expansion was already in effect. Governor Roy Cooper had signed the Medicaid expansion into law this past March. But for people like Anthony Brooks, the real-world implications of legislative delays are dire. With lawmakers busy debating issues such as casino legalization, the real concerns of citizens like Brooks seem to be sidelined. Anthony Brooks urgency stems from the state’s delay in enacting a budget, a crucial step to activate the Medicaid expansion.
In an attempt to address situations like that of Anthony Brooks, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services had proposed a workaround in July. This would have allowed the Medicaid expansion to progress separately from the budget, potentially providing relief to Brooks and many others. Yet, for reasons yet unclear, this solution was rejected, leaving Anthony Brooks and countless others in limbo. When Anthony Brooks arrived at the legislative building, he hoped to discuss his predicament with top Republican leaders. Yet, his efforts were met with disappointment as both were unavailable. Surrounded by supporters, Brooks’ plea wasn’t just for himself, but for thousands of North Carolinians facing a similar crisis. The signs reading “We Support Anthony” weren’t just for Brooks, but symbolized the countless residents whose health and lives hang in the balance.