The health and care of our citizens must be a priority. It shouldn’t be left up to a profit-driven system that has its own set of rules to decide who gets good treatment and who gets passed over. If you don’t have your health, what do you have? If you can’t show up for work, what does the business do? If you don’t have your health, you can’t take care of your children, show up to work or attend school. The profit-driven model doesn’t work for something as basic and fundamental to the human experience as health. Our system should focus on health outcomes instead of treatments.

Drug abuse treatment is yet one more thing we aren’t funding. It’s a terrible thing when a parent turns their own child in to authorities, hoping they will be placed in a treatment program, only to find out there’s no room, and that their child is going to jail instead. The parent has nowhere to turn. The system let’s them down at a time when they have the worst needs.

Mental health care for juveniles is in a severe crisis. A North Carolinian contacted me last year. Her son had a serious breakdown, and the young man laid on a gurney in a hospital for seven days because no beds were available. That’s no way to treat children, especially children who are so vulnerable.

Every other industrial nation can provide health care for their citizens. Surely the United States can, too. Expanding Medicaid would provide health care to 400,000 North Carolinians who fall in the gap between Medicaid and those making enough to receive subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, and would reduce premiums for everyone on an ACA plan.