Berger pushes 'Stop Obamacare' petition

Posted February 8, 2013

Sen. Phil Berger, the president pro tempore of the state Senate

— Sen. Phil Berger is trying to rile up support for a state measure that would buck two key provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act. 

"Please help me stop Obamacare in North Carolina," Berger writes on his campaign website. The note continues:

We already passed a bill in the Senate that protects us from:

  • The government turning our health records over to the IRS
  • Government-forced insurance
  • Billions in new taxes on businesses and the people of North Carolina

The form then invites people to sign a petition that would presumably be presented to opponents of Senate Bill 4.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the state from expanding its Medicaid program in response to the federal Affordable Care Act or participating in the state health insurance exchanges created by the act. 

The House Health Committee is due to hear the bill on Tuesday, and House lawmakers say they don't plan to alter the Senate bill much. Gov. Pat McCrory has asked lawmakers consider the impact on federal funding for a state information technology system, but it seems unlikely that either the House or McCrory would suddenly embrace a health insurance exchange or suddenly agree to expand Medicaid. 

So who exactly is Berger petitioning? 

"Sen. Berger is passionate about this issue, it's our job on the political side to promote his policies and to raise awareness of the work he's doing in the N.C. Senate," said Ray Martin, a Republican Party staffer who works for the GOP Senate caucus.

Berger was not available for comment Friday, Martin said. 

It's worth noting that there are health care advocates who say expanding Medicaid could help the state meet costs it will already have to pay. Also, under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion in the first years of the program.

But Republicans, including Berger, have said they worry that federal government would not keep up the same level of support and the state would get stuck with a big bill down the road. They also point out that North Carolina has trouble managing its current Medicaid program. 

That disagreement amounts to a policy argument. But there are at least three misleading statements in the petition's language.

"Please help me stop Obamacare in North Carolina:" The Affordable Care Act is federal law and will go into effect here regardless of what the legislature does. Requirements that people obtain health insurance or pay a tax will be in force, and the federal government will set up a health insurance exchange with or without state input.

"Government-forced insurance:" The act does not require people to buy insurance. It does require that those who don't obtain insurance pay a tax penalty. 

"The government turning our health records over to the IRS:" The most generous reading of this statement is that Berger is saying the IRS will collect records regarding health insurance, which is true. But the broader suggestion seems to be that the IRS will be combing through your personal medical files.

As FactCheck.org, a project of the nonpartisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, notes, the IRS will have to hire new agents to process tax forms as a result of the law. But it is false, FactCheck says, to people will have to disclose personal health information.


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  • wildpig777 Feb 11, 2013

    MAYBE IF PHIL WOULD put as much effort into repealing the gas tax or the food tax he might have some credubility? and i dont even support o bama.

  • goldenosprey Feb 11, 2013

    josephlarence, Obamacare is going to save my family over $100/ a month. My job pays my insurance and I insure my family at a cost on that plan. I will be able to get similar coverage for less on the exchange. Also, Obamacare reduces the deficit and encourages personal responsibility.

    While I am still less than excited I have to pay 2-3 times what the rest of the world pays for healthcare so y'all can grumble about "socialism," the ACA is a step in the right direction.

    So it's no surprise Berger is perpetuating all the lies about it. Instead of addressing jobs.

    Where are the jobs, Mr. Berger?

  • Unbroken Feb 11, 2013

    So when are they actually going to get to the part about creating more jobs in NC/lowering the state's unemployment rate?

  • mountainlover Feb 11, 2013

    thomashastin: I hate to break the news to you; however, the only thing that can stop the train wreck now is an amendment to the US constitution. Two-thirds of the states would have to agree to get rid of ObamaCare. While I would love to see that happen, I am not very hopeful.

  • Terkel Feb 11, 2013

    So, I suggest you're still going to be paying for Medicaid, and now 0bamacare too, for those who don't pay their way. So, I suggest that if they choose the ER and a small (for now) penalty, you're STILL going to be paying for them.

    So, I suggest that 0bamacare will have the govt controlling not only your insurance but also your CARE. So, I suggest 0bamacare was never intended to do anything but control 0's subjects.

    So, I suggest you think it through a little more.

  • Terkel Feb 11, 2013

    "Excellent, let's start with repealing the Women's Right to Know Act...."

    Count me in on that ridding the country of that piece of angry, desperate, controlling nonsense. It resembles 0bamacare in many aspects, starting with the fact she has no choice. When will the Supremes grow a set and put a stop to these illegal, unconstitutional laws?

  • jeffdewitt Feb 11, 2013

    I'm pretty skeptical of the utility of online petitions, but was happy to sign this one.

    ObaminableCare is the worst piece of legislation foisted on the US since at least the days of FDR and we all need to do whatever we can to kill it.

  • IPayYouPay Feb 11, 2013

    So, what do you suggest for someone without insurance - when do I STOP paying for the uninsured? Huh? Answer that one for me.

  • jrfergerson Feb 11, 2013

    COOLDELA1966 YOU SAY: “We need to let Obamacare come on. It is time for the American people to let the government take care of them. So many people are running around trying to get ahead. Relax. The government will take care of you, house you, feed you, entertain you. Give it up! Enjoy life. Quit stressing out.”

  • hppyhourhero Feb 11, 2013

    thomashaustin: "It is a direct intrusion into the lives of the free American citizen. I am an adult and I do not need a “Big Brother” taking care of me"....Excellent, let's start with repealing the Women's Right to Know Act....