The economic fallout associated with the novel coronavirus has wreaked havoc on our state. Some people have the luxury of working from home. Others (restaurant workers, hotel workers, and employees of small and large businesses) have been let go by employers, who have not seen times like these in their lifetimes. For many of those who lost their jobs, they also lost their employer-based health insurance.

What can be done for these unfortunate souls? Well, actually, a lot. In fact, our state legislature has the power to help these people while also stimulating a sluggish economy. All that needs to happen is for our state legislature to approve Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers are already paying for this part of the ACA, but the money is flowing out of our state because of a few stubborn legislators.

Medicaid expansion will provide needed medical care at a time when an expected 50-70 percent of the population is expected to be exposed to the virus. It will provide needed income for hospitals which are already stretched thin by the financial burden of providing care for the uninsured. Providing care to those in need will also help prevent spread of infection to others, including to the legislators who oppose the expansion.

This is a public health emergency that we can address simply by expanding health care coverage. Expanding Medicaid will both save lives and help the economy.

These are trying times, and they are likely to get much worse before they get better. It’s past time for political posturing. The time for bold action is now. Contact your state representatives in Raleigh and let them know that we need Medicaid expansion, and we need it now!

Paul Cook


Steps now will pay later

I’m not privy to all information that local officials, elected and otherwise, have access to, so these comments should be taken in that context. We won’t completely ward off the COVID-19 wave, but there may very well be important things our elected officials and their managers can do to help ensure our medical community is as ready as possible to serve citizens in our region when that wave, however big, comes.

It seems that one piece of the federal government that’s working pretty well is the Army Corps of Engineers, converting — and assisting other entities to convert — existing facilities (e.g., dorms and empty hotels) to temporary hospital rooms, or at least laying plans for getting this done if necessary. I trust our elected leaders and their managers have been for some time on top of this and working with FEMA, the governor’s office, and other appropriate entities to make sure our medical teams are as ready as possible for whatever comes our way.

Space, staff and gear for the medical personnel — these are the critical three legs of the stool with regard to our medical care in these days. Thanks to our local officials for their advocacy of shelter-at-home. Now is also the time for local leaders to work smartly together and with state and federal officials, and the private sector, to ready our health system for whatever the COVID-19 wave might look like.

We are all going to live the rest of our lives in the shadow of the health and economic impact of COVID-19. The quality of that life may depend in part to a range of actions taken in the coming days and weeks by local officials. Some things can be done only at the federal level, and some actions can only be taken locally.

Calvin Mercer


He’s at it again

“Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.” So said Winston Churchill, who would serve in Great Britain’s Parliament for 55 years and who is forever remembered for his contributions as prime minister during World War II. After World War II, Churchill lobbied for peace. Of course, with a political career that long, he had his ups and downs.

But to in any way evoke a comparison of Donald Trump to Churchill is outrageous. He did, in the 1930s suggest improvements. Churchill never defied Parliament. He once defined it as “the shrine of the world’s liberties.”

Frequent public forum contributor Vic Corey outlines a plan for the president. “He will do what he has to in order to successfully navigate America around the deep state/globalist/anti-American Democratic forces that intend to use this crisis to crush America.”

Presenting a counterbalance to Corey is impossible because “Trump supporters no longer believe anything, including their [Democratic Party] virus speculations.

You don’t need to believe, Mr. Corey. You misidentify who is speaking. Perhaps you should listen to the Republican governors and mayors who are pleading for medical supplies as the number of infected and seriously ill residents of their communities continues to increase exponentially.

Linda Leighty


Value life

One of the most obvious messages of our current condition is the importance of human life.

We have accepted incredible hardships to preserve life, even the lives of the most elderly and impaired. We have accepted disruptions in many phases of our lives: financial, educational, religious, social, entertainment, even our sports. And all this has been appropriate.

What I pray is that at some point we recognize that if such sacrifices are necessary and appropriate at one spectrum of life, similar sacrifices would be appropriate at the other end of that spectrum.

The lives of the young, the unborn offer so much hope, so much potential, so much opportunity and so much love. Surely these precious lives deserve similar consideration and protection. Surely we should be willing to accept some disruption in our lives to preserve them. We are making a strong statement about how we value life, let us include all life in that statement.

Mark Dellasega


Contact Bobby Burns at and 329.9572.