Healthcare continues to be a hot topic across the country and in North Carolina it is a disagreement over Medicaid expansion that has resulted in the state still not having a budget almost one-third of way through the current fiscal year.

About 25 people came to hear Jordan Roberts, a health care policy analyst with the John Locke Foundation, speak about healthcare issues at the Republican Speakers Forum held at Kickback Jack’s on New Garden Road at noon on Monday, Oct. 21.

The state budget is still being held up because Gov. Roy Cooper has insisted that Medicaid expansion be included in the budget, and the Republicans who control both the state House and Senate are opposed to including Medicaid expansion in the budget.

Roberts explained that one of the reasons the Locke Foundation is opposed to Medicaid expansion is that is not what Medicaid was designed to do.

He said that Medicaid was designed to serve low income, elderly, blind and disabled people, not working people who can’t afford healthcare coverage.

He said the Locke Foundation believed that it made more sense to fix the current system that causes people not to be able to afford healthcare.

Another issue Roberts brought up about Medicaid expansion is the expense. Even with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the tab, it would to cost the state a couple hundred million dollars and the federal government can change the percentage that it pays.

He also noted that the federal government doesn’t have the money to pay for Medicaid expansion and will have to borrow the money at a time when it is already $22 trillion in debt.

In talking about Obamacare, Jordan said, “We now have a full 10 years of evidence that this was not the answer the Democrats said that it would be.”

And he said that all the Democratic presidential candidates were all talking about the same Medicare for all health plan, even though they called it by different names and their plans had small differences that they emphasized.

Roberts noted that the current mode of hospital consolidations encouraged by Obamacare was not good for the consumer because it eliminated competition.

Roberts also gave North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell credit for making progress in fixing the state employee healthcare systemm which is one of the most underfunded in the country.