I did as the N&R’s Travis Fain instructed and and kept my patience and dug in.

Though Fain concludes that half a million North Carolinians will “fall through the cracks” as the result of Republican efforts to reform healthcare, he gives Sen. Phil Berger the last word:

“North Carolina’s Medicaid program can’t manage the 1.6 million people it is already supposed to serve,” Berger, R-Rockingham, Berger wrote last week.

“Adding 500,000 people to this system is foolhardy.”

But read Fain’s article, which objectively explains what a mess the current system is —not even counting layering in yet another information system to determine Medicaid eligibility — and you can’t help but conclude that Berger’s right.

Then there’s this bit of truth:

The federal government would pay for 100 percent of this expansion for the first three years, starting in 2014. Then the state would have to pick up 10 percent. North Carolina leaders have said they are worried about a bait and switch — that the federal government might shrink its contribution, leaving the state to pay more.

Plus, taxpayer money is taxpayer money, and the federal government is $16.5 trillion in debt.

I wonder if it occurs to anyone that –given the state of the current system—- perhaps the state can help more people by turning down federal funds, a concept that state and local politicians never seem to grasp.