Thank you to our two State Senators for supporting Medicaid expansion

  • Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Editor,

I woke Mojo up from his nap. (Mojo turns 15 this August. His needs his naps.) "Well what do you want? It better be good." He showed his canines. "Wanted to run something by you. Been working on a letter to the editor thanking Senators Yancey McGill and Ray Cleary for voting for the expansion of Medicaid. To underline my thanks to Cleary, I thought I would go ahead and let everybody know that we are Democrats, What do you think?" "You woke me up for that? Folks already know that we are Democrats. Duh." With that he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Mojo was right. I guess from what he and I have written over the years, it is no secret that we are Democrats.

I knew that Senator McGill was going to vote as he did to expand Medicaid. Thanks for your consistency Senator McGill. I didn't know how Senator Cleary was going to vote. As reported in the paper, I found his reasons for voting in favor of the expansion compelling. Why should South Carolina once again turn its back on money that will come to us from the federal government (money that partly comes from us anyway and largely comes from other states)? Medically, Medicaid expansion would save money in the long run. More people would have access to insurance and primary care. Conditions, like hypertension, that lead to serious and expensive illness, would be addressed early. Cleary pointed out correctly that this was not about "welfare". Those who have no employment are already covered. The expansion was about 320,000 low income wage earners, some of whom work two jobs without benefits to keep their family afloat. Perhaps Medicaid expansion will come around again.

But the major reason that Mojo and I, Democrats that we are, want to thank Senator Cleary is, according to his explanation of his vote "It was the right thing to do." He went against his party leadership, the Empress Nikki, and I'm sure a number of Republicans to vote what he thought was right. A profile in courage.

Mojo has padded in and is reading over my shoulder. "Once you woke me up, I couldn't get back to sleep. I might as well help out. Tell them about what that other preacher from Atlanta said." "Well Mojo, he was more than just another preacher. Anyway, Dr. King said, 'There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.' Hey Mojo, that seems to fit doesn't it?"

There is a lesson here for Democratic and Republican public officials alike. There does come a time in all of their careers when a tough vote looms and they are being tugged from all sides; constituents, party leadership, special interest groups (the dread lobbyists — if you like them they are a special interest group, if you don't they are lobbyists), perhaps even appeals to ideology, and then a voice comes from somewhere saying, "do the right thing." It is in those times that leadership is born.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Mojo
Pawleys Island

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

The Editor,

I woke Mojo up from his nap. (Mojo turns 15 this August. His needs his naps.) "Well what do you want? It better be good." He showed his canines. "Wanted to run something by you. Been working on a letter to the editor thanking Senators Yancey McGill and Ray Cleary for voting for the expansion of Medicaid. To underline my thanks to Cleary, I thought I would go ahead and let everybody know that we are Democrats, What do you think?" "You woke me up for that? Folks already know that we are Democrats. Duh." With that he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.

Mojo was right. I guess from what he and I have written over the years, it is no secret that we are Democrats.

I knew that Senator McGill was going to vote as he did to expand Medicaid. Thanks for your consistency Senator McGill. I didn't know how Senator Cleary was going to vote. As reported in the paper, I found his reasons for voting in favor of the expansion compelling. Why should South Carolina once again turn its back on money that will come to us from the federal government (money that partly comes from us anyway and largely comes from other states)? Medically, Medicaid expansion would save money in the long run. More people would have access to insurance and primary care. Conditions, like hypertension, that lead to serious and expensive illness, would be addressed early. Cleary pointed out correctly that this was not about "welfare". Those who have no employment are already covered. The expansion was about 320,000 low income wage earners, some of whom work two jobs without benefits to keep their family afloat. Perhaps Medicaid expansion will come around again.

But the major reason that Mojo and I, Democrats that we are, want to thank Senator Cleary is, according to his explanation of his vote "It was the right thing to do." He went against his party leadership, the Empress Nikki, and I'm sure a number of Republicans to vote what he thought was right. A profile in courage.

Mojo has padded in and is reading over my shoulder. "Once you woke me up, I couldn't get back to sleep. I might as well help out. Tell them about what that other preacher from Atlanta said." "Well Mojo, he was more than just another preacher. Anyway, Dr. King said, 'There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.' Hey Mojo, that seems to fit doesn't it?"

There is a lesson here for Democratic and Republican public officials alike. There does come a time in all of their careers when a tough vote looms and they are being tugged from all sides; constituents, party leadership, special interest groups (the dread lobbyists — if you like them they are a special interest group, if you don't they are lobbyists), perhaps even appeals to ideology, and then a voice comes from somewhere saying, "do the right thing." It is in those times that leadership is born.

Sincerely,

The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins and Mojo
Pawleys Island

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