LETTER: Let readers draw own conclusions

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 04:58 AM

To the Editor:

The current Raleigh budget battle between the newly elected Republican/conservative and the Democrat/"Moral Monday" supporters has brought forth another shortcoming of our current crop of news reporters.

The local news outlets are loaded with characterizations of their opponents positions such as inadequate, tax and spend, unrealistic, pie in the sky, regressive, etc. Only one has bothered to include supporting data that allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.

The subject is the 2010-2011 North Carolina Medicaid Program, which is described as "a $10 billion Medicaid budget," and " a Cadillac program." More specifically, it is about the voluntary $4.4 billion portion of the program that is "not required (and therefore not funded) by the federal government." The article identifies in descending order the top 17 optional services starting with "prescription drugs 1.1 billion." The top 17 total 4.1 of the 4.4 billion, and ends with "hearing aids ($96,303)." The list is quite complete and deserves our interest.

Unfortunately, the article does not contain the number of N.C. participants in this program, nor any comparative data that would provide some context to the report. Every $10 billion budget item warrants more analysis than this one seems to be getting. I doubt it has decreased over the years!

This article is the lead story in the May 2012 Civitas Capitol Connection newspaper (www.nccivitas.org). You could probably get a back copy ... I prefer being given the data that enables me to draw my own conclusions. Don't you?

Bill Dooley