ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT MEDICAID EXPANSION AND THE BODY COUNT GROWS: Since 2014, in a mean-spirited display of antipathy and partisan spite toward former President Barack Obama, legislative leaders forced a ban on Medicaid expansion. They continue to ignore the pressing needs and look for excuses to avoid doing the responsible thing. North Carolina remains one of just 11 states yet to expand Medicaid since the federal government agreed to assume almost all the cost. Since the 2014 ban on Medicaid expansion, the state has left more than $40 billion in federal funding in Washington. Meanwhile federal taxes being paid by North Carolinians are helping pay for Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, Louisiana, Utah, Indiana and most recently, South Dakota – all overwhelmingly Republican states. The money is just one “cost.” For North Carolina families it has meant: 4,240 to 15,200 deaths of loved ones who weren’t able to get the lifesaving care they needed. 110.458 women haven’t been able to get breast cancer screening mammograms. 236,500 diabetics have gone without medication. 118,000 jobs, that would have been created because of the infusion of federal funds, have gone wanting. Meanwhile, health care costs are skyrocketing. I recently had a CT scan that was critical in determining I did not have any cancerous growths, and it fell into the gap between two limited benefit plans I carry through my job. $5,300 may be a drop in the bucket for some, but for the rest of us, it's crippling. Fix this now, dammit.