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Opinion Letters ‘Helping’ programs have become a way of life

There seems a significant difference of opinion as to whether expanding Medicaid will be more costly to the State of North Carolina than the advantages such a broadening would bring about in our state. Adam Searing (N.C. Justice Center) argues strongly in favor of expansion citing job creation and an increase in eligibility and other blessings, not the least of which is the premise it will cost N.C. nothing for three years (Macon County News, Feb. 7). Experience tells us that when the federal government hands out money it comes with serious strings attached.

Searing also claims that by expanding Medicaid, "N.C. will leverage at least $15B in federal funds over the next decade." May I advance the plausibility that if every state received $15B to play with, our national debt (already exceeding $16 trillion) would also expand an additional $750B. God only knows how many hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent on the "war on poverty" since the 1960s, and we have more hand-to-mouth existence now than we did then. Those who profit from poverty have made a fortune. Maybe that's a "wash," we have been taken to the cleaners.

Let’s ponder some simple truths. In so far as "affordable care" is concerned, in America there is no such thing. Somebody always pays and the cost is generally way out of proportion to the care we receive. Lobbyists of the various medical industries, pharmaceuticals, etc., and a compliant well-paid-off Congress have seen to that.

Medicaid was designed as part of a "safety net" to assist people in temporary needy situations. However, like so many government plans, it’s taken on a life of its own. We now have at least four generation families dependent on Medicaid (and the countless other "helping" programs). It's no longer a safety net, for many it's a precise way of life. To even consider expanding such programs as Medicaid is not only self-defeating, it's irrational and unconscionable. Medicaid is at the top of the list of government programs that have a huge lobby made up of organizations which reap huge profits — primarily the multi-billion dollar mental health industry — due to an ever-expanding body of citizens perceived as needy or disabled.

How we survived for 300-plus years without government programs has been largely ignored or conveniently forgotten. Since approximately the middle of the last century we have gradually become a nation of "service providers," creating in the process an enormous number of impoverished, destitute citizens who serve the ever-growing poverty industries.

We all remember how much trouble Mitt Romney created for himself referring to that 47 percent as "takers." A very poor choice of words to be sure. But in plain truth, he probably wasn't all that far off the mark.

David L. Snell — Dillsboro, N.C.

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