Editorial: McCrory has us on the horns of a dilemma

Oct. 27, 2013 @ 03:56 PM

It’s not clear whether Gov. Pat McCrory intentionally spread false information last week on the national stage, did it accidentally or merely repeated what someone else had told him.

Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that currently is the biggest source of fuel for Tea Party politicians, McCrory fed his audience a heaping serving of red meat: When asked about the federal expansion of Medicaid, which McCrory’s administration rejected for North Carolina, he said, “We just got a new reg which might, in fact, force us to do Medicaid expansion, whether we want to or not, in the upcoming year.”

We can’t say that’s a lie because we don’t know McCrory’s mind, but his statement was 100 percent false.

What is changing is Medicaid’s “presumptive eligibility” provisions, which already allowed hospitals to presume that some women, children, seniors and the disabled would be covered under Medicaid and bill the state for their care. If the hospital’s presumption is wrong, it still could bill the state’s Medicaid program for two months.

Now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says hospitals can make similar presumptions about all patients who could be eligible for expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

But that change applies only in states that accepted the Medicaid expansion. McCrory rejected expansion here, so the change does not affect North Carolina in the slightest.

Unfortunately, McCrory has some recent history of what could charitably be called careless phrasing, such as when he said in response to an interview question about the Moral Mondays protests during the legislative session that he had gone out among the protesters and been treated rudely, which turned out to be untrue.

This may be another case of his mouth getting ahead of his brain.

However, considering the several unqualified political appointees who have gained high office in the state Department of Health and Human Services, it’s possible that some idiot fed him incorrect information.

It’s hard to know which would be preferable: that the governor intentionally lied, that he shot his mouth off without thinking, or he is relying on incompetents for the information he uses in making decisions.