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Joint | March 23, 2015 | Press Room | Press Conference

Full MP3 Audio File

Everybody ready? OK. Good morning and thank you all for coming to this press conference. I am Representative Rosa Gill, one of the 13 representatives from Wake county, and it's a great morning to be here. The purpose of this press conference is to deliver a result of an activity that the NAACP held over the past couple of weeks. Miss Michelle Laws, the Executive Director of the North Carolina NAACP, will present the results of the Peoples' Grand Jury on the denial of Medicaid expansion. and she will have other jurors or people to assist her. thank you representative Gill, members of the press and the public, the North Carolina NWACP and Forward Together Moral Movement Partners knew that the decision of governor Pat McCorry to deny medicate expansion which was supported by North Carolina general assembly under the leadership former house Speaker Tom Taylor and senator, President pro tempo Phil Burger, we knew that there would be significant consequences that their decisions rooted in political gaming and partisan Nazism, would board well for them because grave harm to hundred of thousands of North Carolinian' s, we see their actions and we saw them at the time as morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent and economically insane. The voices of thousands that turned out at our Moral Monday Movement, demonstration and direct action we're tuned out for reasoning of impartial experts in the medical fields were ignored, the last and perfect analysis that were done by economist were devalued, so on February the 16th and again on March 2nd, we the people of North Carolina convene the Peoples' Grand Jury, we based our Grand Jury on the core, fundamental constitutional statement, articles 11 section 4 of the North Carolina constitution, which states and I quote 'Beneficent for vision, for the poor, the unfortunate and the orphan, is one of the first duties of the civilized and the christian state' in quote. The North Carolina constitution also clearly declares life to be and an alienable right, but our elected officials here in North Carolina have chosen to trample on our constitution. Our leaders ignored the real consequences of not expanding medicare for the 500 thousand North Carolinian's who the expansion would have cover and it's over 2800 individuals who we knew could die. We, the people, realized that we had to stand up for the people, and so we as North Carolinian's we stood our ground and we demanded what was right before anyone else dies not having demand what is right, before any one else dies by not having healthcare, those pleas went ignored and unanswered, and so we decided to convene the Peoples' Grand Jury, and today we have the indictment as a result of the hardwork, the thoughtful deliberation the balanced consideration of the evidence. I'm going to turn it over now to Scott Holmes who is a partner, has been a partner and instrumental in making sure that the Peoples' Grand Jury was executed, implemented, with very careful critical thinking and analysis. Scott Thank you, I'm Scott Holmes, I'm a volunteer attorney with NAACPIM lawyer. As far as I know never before has a group of citizens convened the general assembly to conduct their own hearings. As far as I know it has never before happened that a group of citizens have gathered to symbolically indict their own officials for careless disregard for human life, and economic growth. We saw that no hearings were

being held, we saw that the evidence was not being considered, and the people decided to do it themselves. On February 2nd, a group of concerned citizens gathered in this general assembly in a hearing room to hear evidence. They heard evidence from people directly affected by the failure to expand medicate, people in the medicate gap. These are folks who make too much money to qualify for medicate, but not enough to afford Obama-Care. We heard evidence from doctors, healthcare providers, we heard evidence from experts in the field of public health and economic growth, we heard expert legislators describe the legislative process. Members of the Peoples' Grand Jury asked their own questions. They heard the evidence, on March 10th, they gathered in private to deliberate. They considered the evidence from the people directly affected, from the experts, from the doctors and they reached their own conclusions. And now I'd like to introduce Vicky Rider, who is the fore person of what we believe is the first Peoples' Grand Jury. As a private citizen, it was daunting to find myself as the foreman of the Grand Jury, charged with having to decide whether or not there was sufficient evidence to indite our elected officials for the actions that they took, which would so seriously affect so many of our neighbors. I'm going to read to you, if I may, the conclusions that the Grand Jury came to after listening to the testimonies from people like Leslie here whose son died because he could not get access to affordable healthcare. It was a prevtable death never should have happened. There were many testimonies that we heard that day from people suffering from preventable, curable diseases who would likely not see their lifetime fulfilled. We've heard testimonies from doctors who must check patients who don't have access to affordable healthcare. We had evidence from legislators who talk to us about the failure to follow due process in allowing input from the citizens who elect our officials, and this is the conclusion that we came to, and I will read to you now. Having heard the testimony of doctors and other health care providers, patients and other citizens currently unable to access affordable healthcare, legislators and economic experts and having had the opportunity to examine and consider the evidence put before us, the panel of citizens hereby concludes that the accused have failed in both their official duties and their moral obligations to act in the best interest of the whole for the people of North Carolina and for the common good. we find that the accuse have failed to undertake seriously their duty under the North Carolina constitution to care for the poor, and have acted with reckless investments to the lights and safety of North Carolinians, and an immoral disregard from the sanctity of the lives of the citizens of our State. Further, they have forged[sp?] at funding that worth of adding great [xx] states economy, where they've created thousands of new jobs and would have provided affordable access to preventive and life saving health care for 500000 citizens of our state. For all these reasons, we find sufficient evidence to indict as follows. For acting in violating of article one section one of the North Carolina constitution, guilty. For acting in violation of article one section two of the North Carolina constitution, guilty. For acting in violation of article nine section four of The North Carolina constitution, guilty. For violating the North Carolina legislators oath to the office in failing to faithfully discharge their duties by allowing no expert testimony, no public hearings, and no meaningful debate on an issue of life and death to the citizens of North Carolina, guilty. And finally for pursuing policies that exhibit a reckless disregard for human life, and evidence is significantly high probability of prolonging serious illnesses, or needlessly causing death, guilty. So now we

have a transcript of these proceedings, we have the exhibits, the exploit exhibits, over 400 pages of record we have created. The hearings are all recorded and online, the indictment has been signed and it is our intention to go personally serve the governor, the speaker of the house and the you are a pro and the present pro team and it is our intention to send the entire record, more than 400 pages of transcript testimony and exhibitions to all our leaders, and solve them electronically. We learn from these proceedings three things. First we learn that people have died, and will continue to die because of this failure to expand medicate. Second we learn that our leaders has failed to consider the full human and economic cost on failure to expand medicate, and third we have learn that billions of dollars of federal funding have been rejected that we have created jobs and increased revenue than we have more than paid for the state's share of these medicaid costs. With this indictment we hope our leaders will take serious through their obligations of the North Carolina constitution. Under article 1 section 1 we hope they will take serious obviously the obligation to protect life. We want our legislator to start caring for life after conception we want to indicate consideration article one section two, there obligations to govern for the good of the whole. We want them to govern for all North Carolinians, whether they are rich or poor, black, brown or white, male or female, gay, straight or [xx] republican or democrat, people of all face, people of no face, and finally we want them to take seriously those North Carolina constitutional obligation to care for the poor and unfortunate, article 11 section 4, we want our legislator to start taking their duties seriously to take care of our most disadvantage people in North Carolina. With this indictment we symbolically name the failure of our leaders as crimes, showing a careless and disregard for the well-being of North Carolina. Now we will take the indictment, and We will also open questions, open up for questions from the media if there are any at this time forward, and then at this time he's got his hand, if there are no questions or following questions, we will deliver the indictment to Speaker Tim Moore's office. Senate team, Phil Berger's office ad to Governor Pat McCrory's office, are there any questions at this time? Is it all symbolic we hope to accomplish. So we hope that, where first of all, the elected officials and leaders that we've just indicated, the Speaker of the House, the Senate team, President and the Governor will strongly reconsider, and their decision not to expand Medicaid, not in a political political chicanery attempt to fool the public as they are really trying to move us in that direction as what we think we can deliberations and discussions have been about, but that they take the findings from this indictment seriously, and use it to guide their actions and thinking around expanding Medicaid, and to do so with deliberate and swift speed at this point. Lives are being lost first, we don't know the count, but we do know that those who have been denied access to care, who suffer from chronic health conditions, illnesses and diseases, who can not care will die. And so we ask that they take the findings that we have compiled and the indictment, seriously, and they use it, hey used those findings. The second thing that we hope to happen is that the people will understand that we can not rest, that's of us who believe in justice, those of us who believe in fairness can not rest and that we're asking that this re-energizes the people of North Carolina to say that this isn't a fight that's over, and it's certainly not a fight that they will like for us to believe has being won and settled. It is not settled, it is far from settled, and It is always the right time to do the right thing, and to make the right decision. So, we hope that the people of North Carolina, all through out North Carolina will here this, will understand that this grand jury existed, it wasn't just something to do. Many people had jobs, many

people had other things tying up their their time, but they knew how important it was to come and represent the people of North Carolina. So that's what we're hoping that our leaders will move in a positive direction, not just the leaders, but all of the North Carolina members of the general assembly, and that the people of North Carolina will start calling your representatives and elected officials, and saying, we want you to expand medic aid now. Another thing that we've done is create a record. We've created a record that was not created by our leaders. A record that shows the economic benefits of expanding medic aid to our state, the number of jobs that will be created, well paying jobs, the amount of tax revenue that will more than match our budgeting funds, and we challenge them to respond with their own statistics, if they do not believe that the economics is that correct, and they need to show us their economics that say that will hurt our state to expend medicare because all that expert agree that this is a win win that saves life and increases money. I think Dr. Vonda Wright has some comments too. So I think that the key thing for all of you to realize is that when we initially start our protest and our protest and our press conference and we rode up ends back in 2013, it was a new legislate for a new Governor and, but the fatal care Act had not been implemented then, but now we have over 12 months of data, so 2014 is finished, many states expanded medicaid and we have concrete evidence published in peer review journals join both the medical benefit in terms of of life saved by expanding medicated and implementing fully the affordable payoff as well as the economic benefit of states that did expand medicate, and that is actually leading to a boom in employment, and the local economy as opposed to North Carolina who's on appointment rate is rag the improvement in the national grade. So, we've got a new a reconstituted general assembly. We've got new senators and new representatives, and so we feel it's important that we bring these data and concrete evidence showing the benefits, and we hope they'll reconsider because it should no longer be a person thing that, and we talk about the moral stuff of reasons to do it, but Reuben Berber always talks about that the morals are actually based on the concrete scientific and economic evidence, and that's what derives your moral arguments, so we feel that we've got these three arguments that is new data. We had the old moral argument, but now we can battles the more with the economics and the medical data in terms of the impact on lives saved. It's costing nothing expanding medicate is costing state money, and these people call themselves fiscal conservatives. There is no evidence of their fiscal conservatism. It's just total nonsense what they're doing, and when I testified, and the grand jury asked me what I thought, my vision, I'm not a lawyer, but I've watched enough Barry Mason, and things like that, CSI, to know that if you're in a car even though a murder was committed, even though you didn't pull the trigger, you are as guilty as the person who pulled the trigger. So, from my perspective they've committed murder by not intervening, when they have all the weapons the need to prevent these deaths, and I think it's just totally a horrible crime they are committing, and that's why this is a, I'm really pleased that the Grand Jury, listen to our evidence, I was one of the witnesses, and it came down indictments. Are there any other questions from the media? So if they don't take response to your effort here, what happens next? So what happens next, we come back as we did in the past in 2013 and 2014, by the thousands, we come back, we make our appeal, we continue to make our appeal, and some consideration of some family members in terms of legal action that they may in fact consider based on the findings from the Grand Jury, we know it wasn't an official legal proceeding, that it

was symbolic, but the evidence was real. The testimonies were real. And so we will come back, they will see us, the people, the Moral Movement is alive and well, contrary to what some people may want to think. And so we will be back and we will continue to make our demands. There is one other thing that we all can do of course, and that is that these are officials making these decisions on our behalf, were elected to serve us, and if they don't serve us, and they don't do the will of the people, then we have the power of the vote, and we need to remind them that their offices are temporary. The damage that they're doing is permanent. So, we have every opportunity to say to them, you were elected to represent the people, you do not represent the word of the people, you do not represent the common good and we will see to it that you can be unelected. So, [xx] you say that the more money protests would pick up again like [xx] register. So, as Reverend Barbara has always said that we respond according to our elected officials not responding to us, and so there are plans. We actually have our Education and Advocacy Day that's coming up April 14th, where we'll be here again presenting our demands to our members of the General Assembly here who as Vicky pointed out, "Were elected " It's not a permanent position although some curve it as if it is, and lots of money, ducked money and well [xx] as we don't really know what happens in the dark and just what we do know the money that has made it to the is nauseating enough but we'll be back and we respond. We are hoping though that they will do what's morally right but also what's economically prudent for North Carolina, over 100 million in dollars were lost with their initial decision not to expand Medicate and we're expecting that between 2016 and 2020 to exceed in billion of dollars, that's fiscally irresponsible and we're talking about taxpayer's dollars. There are other states that are benefiting from us, making us folks thicker, not providing the care they deserve and they need it many and also I'd like to say that there's the assumption and we're talking about giving medical insurance or coverage Medicate dollars to people who are sitting around, who are lazy bums doing nothing, the much fast majority of these folk that we're talking about are working people who've poured into North Carolina's economy through taxes who labored and made sure that North Carolina companies profit, and these are the ones that we're talking about, who have been excluded, from getting a basic, fundamental right, and that is the right to life and the right to healthcare. So we'll be back, and as I mentioned the more movement is alive and well, we're not a moment, we don't convene around hot button issues or what sensational, we are moved and we're compelled to come when there has been grave and justices and acted upon the people of North Carolina by the very ones that we elected to protect and to serve us in a judicious manner. When do you expect litigation to begin? We're hoping we won't have to have litigation, right, so I'm. You're running a lawsuit, when do you expect to do that? So, that is not been determined or decided at this point, we are hoping again that we don't have to go to, through extreme measures we don't have to go, that somewhere along the way that they will realize that this is the right thing to do, and that we don't have to battle in court, right? We shouldn't have to battle, that's the ideal and again we're operating right now, our focus today is to deliver the indictment, and let's see how they respond before any discussions of litigation ahead. But I think in discussing litigation it would be important to ask our leaders what do they think Article 11, Section four means? Governor McCrory what do you think it means that we have a duty for the poor? What do you think it means that we have a duty for the will of all people? What are their concrete legal manifestations

of the constitutional article that require us a state to take care of our poor. What does the legal counsel for the General Assembly think about that? And it's important to have those those conversations, and even get their position on that before we do something as silly as waste taxpayer money litigating something that should be a foregone conclusion. OK, so we have a witness who would like to make a comment before we conclude, and I think considering the loss that she had experienced we should give her that. And after that if there are any other questions before I go. [xx] OK, I'm Mitchell Llaws with two L's, and Llaws as in the law with an S, and I'm the Executive Director for North Carolina, NAACP. Vicki Ryder is spelled VICKI RYDER. Who reads from here? John. I'm Scott Homes SEOT HOLMES. I'm Charlie Vanderhoarse, I'm a professor of medicine at the university of North Carolina. And I'm Rosalyn Boyd and I'm from Kimble North Carolina, I just wanted to show you the face of what happens when you don't provide people with healthcare. This is my son who died of colon cancer, because he couldn't get a because he couldn't get insurance because a birth defect is pre-existing condition. Five to eight people are dying every day the way my son did in North Carolina alone, an estimated 17000 a year across the nation, this is a sin, this is a crime and I'm so glad they've been indicted here in North Carolina. Thank you, so at this time, we we will proceed with the delivering of the indictment. One last question. Reverend Barbra, why was she here today? Reverend Barbra is on, out of state actually on another very, very important business, involved in another very important business engagement. He has been texting and some of my comments where he's come, and so we speak with one voice, within LAACP, and he was present during the Grand Jury deliberations, and so he's been very much involved, and really regrets that he was not able to be here, but where he is at is justice important as you know we have a legal battle in terms of our voting rights, which is another [xx]. So, I'll just leave at there. Okay. Thank you. I need any member of the grand jury who hasn't yet signed all the five copies of the indictment to do that before we go [xx] I'm going to have all of our [xx]. Let's go out of the [xx] because the It was a [xx]. So, let's relax outside please