Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Affordable Care Act - Now time to improve & expand

Posted August 1

For anyone tracking Republicans' plans to repeal and replace Obamacare, this probably sounds familiar: it is possible GOP senators come back to Washington to vote on a health care proposal this week.

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.

2014-16 Jan.-July 2017 TOTAL
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

12 Comments

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  • Teddy Fowler Aug 1, 12:48 p.m.
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    Only reverting the tax increases that Obamacare put on those making $250,000 plus when the law was passed... Saying that is a tax cut is ludicrous... Those of us making less than $250,000 pay nothing towards Obamacare... if you want a truly fair plan and one that has a chance of working then everybody needs to help pay for it....

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Aug 1, 12:33 p.m.
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    Get rid of Obamacare it was a scam by a scam artist

  • Richard Eskridge Aug 1, 11:36 a.m.
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    In a sense both parties are wrong. The democrats are wrong for having enacted such a byzantine piece of legislation without any Republican support. The Republicans are wrong to simply scrap most or all of the ACA on the presumption of starting over just to fulfill campaign promises and the twitter ramblings of the l'enfant terrible president.

    Healthcare and insurance costs rise as the population ages and lives longer. The ACA has tons of problems that could be fixed or eliminated. This malaise could be fixed with some across the isle support from both parties.

    As far as those Republicans who just want to cut taxes for wealthy donors at the expense of the millions who will lose any coverage, that seems like some kind of sadist like policy to me. It sounds to me as if they want those people to die. They just don't want to get their hands dirty. McCain was right. There needs to be a resolution upon which everyone can agree.

  • Chris Perdue Aug 1, 11:24 a.m.
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    Insurance companies are required by law to pay a minimum of 80 cents of every dollar collected in premium to medical coverage. BCBS actually pays about 86 cents of every dollar the past few years. Premiums have always gone up but not at the rate they are now. The young and healthy are not enrolling, leaving the risk pool full of older sicker people, which leads to bigger premium increases, which leads to healthy people dropping out due to expensive premiums, which causes them to go up even more. So there has to be a way to get the young and healthy in the pool--leaving them on parent's plan until 26 really hurts the individual market. A silver policy for a 26 year old in NC is about $350/month with a . Young people are not going to pay that--they need something that offers choices that can make it more affordable. Most young people don't need the ten minimum essential benefits that are required, but want coverage if they get hit by a bus.

  • Pam Price Aug 1, 11:05 a.m.
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    21st

    Exactly...I am 55. I am now disabled. My insurance premiums went up every year...it didn't matter who was president. It never will matter. Insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have bought our politicians. Lobbying at its finest. The deals that were made to keep prices sky high should be illegal. Probably were...but who is going to investigate it?

  • Michael Bawden Aug 1, 10:20 a.m.
    user avatar

    What needs fixing?
    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2017/04/28/politics/obama-trump-100-days-obamacare/index.html

  • Patrick Gentry Aug 1, 9:26 a.m.
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    More fake news from the Capital Broadcasting Company. But hey what can you really expect from the liberal run mainstream media.

  • Andrew Stephenson Aug 1, 9:17 a.m.
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    Speaking of being blind, does everyone remember the good old days when insurance premiums didn't go up every year? Back when they used to be stable and everything was perfect?

    Because I sure don't. I feel like I heard the same complaint about insurance rates going up back in the 90s when I became aware of insurance (I'm 32). "Health insurance" and "rates going up" are as synonymous as "cars" and "fuel cost".

  • Steve Escabar Aug 1, 8:56 a.m.
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    The ACA has it's faults, but the main purpose of it was to get those uninsured to start paying into the system, and it worked. Keep in mind there were many states that chose not to participate in the ACA and that in turn brought prices up for Americans. That is what I mean by playing politics.

  • James Marley Aug 1, 8:26 a.m.
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    The ACA was based upon several lies and anyone that is honest would admit that regardless of political affiliation. Families for four or more never ever saw the 2,500 premium reduction that President vehemently promised over and over. Instead, for many of us we saw our premiums go up by over 100% since the ACA was enacted. Its funny how supporters of the ACA who are blinded by politics completely ignore that fact because it does not fit their narrative.

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