Editorial: Affordable Care Act - Now time to improve & expand
Posted August 1
CBC Editorial: Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017; Editorial # 8193
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Who are U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis working for?
Three times Burr and Tillis voted last week for ill-considered and increasingly desperate bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
In defense of their wrong-headed votes, the two North Carolinians in the U.S. Senate, offered stock, misleading Republican-talking-point justifications for backing plans that would have stripped health coverage from millions of Americans, particularly 1.3 million in North Carolina while increasing premiums for those left.
Just as we’ve heard for the last seven years, Burr, Tillis and their fellow travelers lashed out at the Affordable Care Act – mostly attacks aimed at former President Barack Obama.
“Our health care system is still broken, costs continue to rise, and Americans have fewer options for health care coverage,” Burr said after the Senate failed in a third effort at repeal last week.
“We cannot accept the status quo as Obamacare continues down an unstainable path and Congress has an obligation to keep pursuing solutions to fix our nation’s broken health care system,” said Tillis.
Despite the ACA’s problems, the reality is that thousands of North Carolinians and millions of Americans today have health coverage who didn’t have it before. To them it’s not about Obama. They like that pre-existing conditions couldn’t be used to exclude anyone from coverage. They like that young adults 26 and younger – just getting started on their own – can remain on their parents’ plans.
While they understand the seven-year-old healthcare plan isn’t perfect, they oppose repeal and they favor a thoughtful consideration of the program’s shortcomings and an honest, bipartisan effort, to fix them.
All this seems pretty obvious to a majority of our citizens, but the hyper-partisan GOP majority in Washington doesn’t get it. The Senate’s leadership so lacked confidence in the plans they’d concocted, they were kept secret until shortly before the votes. No hearings, no nothing.
The proposals were such abominations, no matter the desperation, there were some Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona – who voted against all three plans.
Why would Burr and Tillis vote to take health care coverage away from 1.3 million North Carolinians who’d gained it under the Affordable Care Act? One answer is the commitment they made to cut taxes, particularly for the wealthy. Do they viewed this as a tax-cut bill, not a health care bill? Does money talks?
Why have they not done more – particularly Tillis when he controlled the state House of Representatives – to get the state to use the law’s provisions to extend health coverage to another 500,000 state residents?
The melodrama is done. It is time that North Carolina’s Republicans lead the effort to build a consensus around improving the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act.
They need to remember who they work for!
* * *
The following members of North Carolina’s congressional delegation voted this year to repeal the Affordable Care Act:
U.S. Senate (2): Republicans -- Richard Burr, Thom Tillis
House of Representatives (9): Republicans -- George Holding, 2nd District; Virginia Foxx, 5th District; Mark Walker, 6th District; David Rouzer, 7th District; Richard Hudson, 8th District; Robert Pittenger, 9th District; Patrick T. McHenry, 10th District; Mark Meadows, 11th District; Ted Budd, 13th District)
BY THE NUMBERS: COSTS OF DENYING HEALTH INSURANCE IN N.C.
|Diabetics without medication*||81,132||15,778||96,828|
|Annual mammograms missed*||36,153||7,028||43,182|
|Deaths*||3,435 to 1,355||1,015 to 266||4,435 to 1,621|
|Federal Funding Lost**||$9 billion||$848.4 million||$9.8484 billion|
|Jobs Not Created**||34,700||8,211||42,911|
*Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, Health Affairs Blog
**The Economic and Employment Costs of Not Expanding Medicaid in N.C., Center for Health Policy Research, The George Washington University, Dec. 2014