A More Meaningful Gesture Than Taking Down The Confederate Flag: Expand Medicaid
Credit: White House
June 30, 2015

The gray states in that graphic are the states that haven't expanded Medicaid for their poorest residents. It's not an accident that the entire South has chosen to allow their neediest citizens to die rather than expand access to health care.

When you hear reports about how South Carolina may have the votes to pull down the Confederate flag from the statehouse, applaud. But don't call it courage.

Courage would be bucking the billionaires and expanding Medicaid in those states. It would be the right, moral thing to do and also demonstrate a real desire to overcome the racist bent present in those states. Yes, there are poor white residents who will benefit from such an expansion, but there are also African-Americans, Latinos, and others who stand to benefit.

Removing the flag is symbolic. That doesn't mean that it's not meaningful. Clearly it is. But it should be accompanied by a good-faith effort to make the lives of people in those states better.

Reverend Barber agrees. I just received this press release from the Moral Monday movement:

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 1, the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement will hold a news conference to call on the governor and General Assembly to turn away from their 21st century form of Interposition and Nullification as they continue to deny Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

NC NAACP president Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, medical experts, and impacted NC residents will lay out the reasons why, in light of the Supreme Court's ruling last week, there is no morally or economically sound explanation for continuing to block Medicaid expansion and depriving hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians of affordable health insurance.

They will, furthermore, explain how this irrational blockage of increased access to healthcare for 500,000 North Carolinians represents a pattern in the legislature's approach to immigrants' rights and LGBT rights, among others.

Beginning at 4:30 p.m., the NC NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement will hold an Equal Protection Under the Law Moral Monday. North Carolinians will come from across the state to advocate for LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and Medicaid expansion.

Here is a chance for Republicans to do more than talk about how they're brokenhearted over racism. They can do something, and we should make them feel the risks involved if they opt out yet again.

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