Source: Newsweek

As the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, a stark divide in leadership has come into focus.

In half the country, Democratic governors lead their states with a science-based, data-driven approach. In the other half, Republican leaders seem more focused on placating the president or their donors.

In a Newsweek column, Noam Lee writes that this is not a new phenomenon.

“This is nothing new. For years, Democratic governors have made health care access a top priority. As they have fought for Medicaid expansion, Republican governors and state legislatures have blocked progress or dragged their feet. Medicaid expansion gave health care to millions of people, bettered health outcomes and saved rural hospitals, which are an increasingly critical resource as COVID-19 spreads and begins to overload rural America,” he writes.

North Carolina is one example where Republican legislators have held up Medicaid expansion even while a popular Democratic governor supports it along with a majority of North Carolinians.

Lee points out that elections in states like North Carolina this year will be pivotal. 

“The stakes are astronomical this year for gubernatorial elections. In North Carolina, Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has been fighting against a Republican-led legislature for Medicaid expansion,” Lee writes. “The Republican challenger, an opponent of Medicaid expansion, has opposed Cooper’s common sense stay-at-home order.”

With uncertain times ahead, leaders like Roy Cooper are more necessary than ever. As Lee puts it, “We need leaders committed to expanding health care, leaders who listen to expert opinion, and leaders who are committed to protecting their residents.”

Read the full op-ed from Noam Lee on Newsweek.