I have been a small business owner in Moore County for 30 years and have been co-owner of Southern Pines Equine Associates for the past 25 years.
My partner and I have always felt that health security is an integral aspect of living a productive life, and as such, have always provided access to health care for our employees.
Over the years, this has proved much more difficult, challenging and frustrating as our choices shrink and our costs explode. Anyone who has owned a small business knows how difficult it is to price yourself competitively in the marketplace while the cost of business grows exponentially.
Having less than 10 employees, health care coverage is not a cost that is required of us by any authority, but one we feel is incumbent of us to absorb. If every business felt the same, we wouldn’t need the federal intervention that seems to offend so many.
That brings me to State Rep. Jamie Boles’ July 31 comments on the editorial page. He boasts of North Carolina’s economy under the Republican leadership.
I guess congratulations are in order to you, Mr. Boles, for having made our state very attractive to corporations that want to increase their profitability.
However, in doing so, your “informed decisions” have led my employees to agree to cut a full-time position in our office this year in order to afford health care for themselves. It is such a high priority for them that they are willing to work longer and harder for it.
On top of that, there is now roughly $30,000 that is not being spent locally by this employee in our own community, but instead is paid to a company not based in Moore County. Mr. Boles, the economy in your own backyard suffers from your impotence in addressing this pervasive problem.
Speaking of economics, here is another thought: When uninsured individuals show up at hospitals and are required by law to be treated, the hospitals substantially raise the prices paid by the insured to cover the loss.
The insurance company then increases everyone else’s premiums exponentially to ensure a profit. When you say “expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would result in a substantial increase in taxes,” know that I am currently being “taxed” by the insurance company at a 28 percent rate.
That is 28 percent of my take-home income going to an insurance company for my family’s health care. That is my fixed cost now being paid to insure my family of three. Do you know what that buys me? A $2,500 out-of-pocket expense for a minor surgical procedure for my daughter; a variable cost that increases the “tax” already being paid by me.
You use semantics while your neighbors suffer.
Mr. Boles, you state, “I believe there is a better, more comprehensive solution for North Carolina.” Well, 37 states have decided Medicaid expansion was the best solution for them. These are states led by both Republican and Democratic administrations.
These states did not have to raise taxes or blow holes in their budget. In fact, I find it extremely ironic that your main objective seemed to be returning our state tax dollars to Moore County (in the form of pork barrel spending). However, you aggressively block bringing our federal tax dollars already paid by North Carolina citizens back to our state to help our neighbors in need.
When you stated that “the legislature will continue to explore and fight for health care in NC,” I realized that if you are genuine and have actually been fighting for us, you have failed miserably and need to be replaced by someone more effective.
Lastly, Mr. Boles, you said, “While I have serious concerns about the negative impact of expanding Medicaid, I do welcome a debate on its merits and other ways to address health care challenges in our state.”
I called (Democratic State Senate candidate) Helen Probst Mills and asked if she wanted to join me in that debate with you. She said absolutely and to please invite your fellow legislator, Sen. Tom McInnis, to join us. We may even be able to include the leaders of our local health care providers to join us and make it a forum so that your neighbors can hear our respective thoughts.
Let me know when you two are available, Mr. Boles, and I will be glad to host.
Tom Daniel is a Southern Pines veterinarian.