NC mayor hopes walk to Washington saves hospital

Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina mayor fighting for the hospital that closed in his rural North Carolina town has finished his protest march to the nation’s capital.

Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal said his community’s problems are part of a larger health care struggle. O’Neal walked more than 200 miles over two weeks to protest the July 1st closing of Vidant Pungo Hospital. The Republican held a news conference Monday in Washington, taking to task both the hospital and state officials, who refused federal funding to expand Medicaid.

That expansion would have paid the bills of poor people.

Greenville-based Vidant agreed in April to operate the hospital until July and provide $1 million if local officials would provide an additional $2 million. A Vidant executive said the town wasn’t prepared as of June.

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