Up & Coming Weekly

October 13, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 6 of 24

6 UCW OCTOBER 14-20, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM Medicaid expansion would benefit working families North Carolina is one of a few states that have not adopted Med- icaid Expansion, even though 90% of the costs would be covered by federal funds, and more than 400,000 residents would benefit. It ought never be the case that a person has to choose between having insurance or having groceries. e request for Medicaid Expan- sion is not an issue of someone merely looking for a handout, nor is it an issue of providing assistance to someone who refuses to work. e simple fact of the matter is that 60% of the North Carolinians who fall into the coverage gap and would benefit from expansion are "working families." Many of these persons work in the service industries. e current pan- demic has shown us how critical a role our service industry workers play. ey have not had the option of working from home, etc., to remove themselves from harm's way. ey have continued to serve in the midst of the dreadful virus, yet many of them cannot even afford insurance for themselves. It is a cruel irony to think that those who perhaps need health insurance the most, those who have helped guard the health and safety of so many of us, could benefit from Medicaid, but cannot currently do so because we have, at least to this point, neglected to approve Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina! ere is no "good" reason for the fact that North Carolina is among the 12 states that have not approved expan- sion. Research has shown that states that have expanded Medicaid eligibil- ity have been among the most likely to see decreases in the number of uninsured persons. Why haven't we already gotten this done? We cannot allow, and morally should not allow, the political fights of the past, surrounding the Affordable Care Act, to cloud our current judg- ment regarding what is the right thing to do, which is to get this expansion done as soon as possible. Maintaining the status quo should not be an option. e status quo would guarantee that thousands will con- tinue to go without medical assis- tance who could have otherwise been assisted; it would mean that many of the most hard-working among us will not be able to afford the most basic medical attention. "Just say no" to the status quo. Saying no to the status quo must be accompanied with corresponding ac- tion. So, please contact your state repre- sentatives by letter, phone, email or all of the above. ey need to know that this is an issue that you care deeply about. If you are a person in leadership, share this issue with your constituents. If you use social media, discuss the issue online. We need to do everything within our power to get this done. Let's help protect those who have protected us. Sincerely, Vincent D. Long, Pastor Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Spring Lake TO THE EDITOR Pastor Vincent D. Long I appreciated Jim Jones' thought- ful article in "Publisher's Pen" about the Market House, current unrest, and Maslow's Hierarchy (Oct. 7). I understand his and others' concerns about the barricades surrounding the Market House, and I know some people are anxious for them to be removed. In fact, however, as a business owner with a store at "Ground Zero" in the 100 block of Hay Street, I have observed a steady increase in foot traffic and customers over the past two months. This is related in part to the gradual relaxation by Gov. Cooper of COVID restrictions but also be- cause there have been no incidents downtown since the May 30 protest and since the Occupy Fayetteville tent city was taken down. I have not heard any complaints about the barricades from customers or fellow merchants. The barricades are not keeping people from coming downtown. However, taking them down pre- maturely may invite out-of-control demonstrations and protests, which will drive people away. As with any damaged building, the barricades must stay until needed repairs have been made. Beyond that, however, the bar- ricades should stay until our entire community has had a chance to learn all the facts. good and bad, about the Market House. Only then can we can make sound, carefully considered decisions about its fate. In the meantime, we should at least begin to address racial inequal- ity in the community. I disagree with Councilwoman Banks-McLaughlin who, at the Oct. 5 work session said "Council has yet to have that tough conversation on … the Market House. We need to vote and decide NOW, so that we can move forward and direct our attention to other issues that are im- pacting our city such as COVID-19, poverty, and infrastructure." Unfortunately, she has the cart before the horse, her "NOW" in the wrong place. We absolutely must talk NOW about racial injustice in our society and how racial bias affects policing, education, joblessness, unemploy- ment and even health care in our very own community. This is something we can do NOW, and we must. The city should consid- er hiring an objective, outside con- sultant to lead us in these difficult discussions. Not just "town halls" but meaningful, one-on-one and small group discussions. I am confident that as we work our way through this, as we sit down with each other and talk about these issues, we will find to our surprise that the question "What to do with the Market House" really wasn't so difficult after all. Hank Parfitt Fayetteville Market House barricades should stay in place Hank Parfitt ExplosivE Fun! at sEnd a soda bomb Family•FriEnd•ClassmatE•tEaChEr•nEighbor FREE HEALTH CARE • for uninsured Adults call 910.485.0555

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