Editorial: Burr and Tillis; Hit the road and listen to what N.C.'s health care needs are
Posted June 28
A CBC Editorial: Wednesday, June 28, 2017; Editorial # 8179
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Is there any good reason why North Carolina’s two senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, would vote for the so-called “Better Health Care Act,” the Republican leadership’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?
Is it because:
- It would take health insurance away from a staggering 1.3 million North Carolinians – more than 10 percent of the state’s population?
- It would cause an INCREASE -- instead of a promised cut -- in health insurance premiums over the next two years?
- An estimated 700,000 would lose coverage in the private insurance market – the third-worst in the nation for losses in that market?
- The state’s private insurance market would lose $500 million in premium cost-sharing assistance that lowers premiums for working North Carolinians.
- Toeing the party line in Washington is more important than the health and well-being of North Carolina citizens?
The reality is that the more people learn about the Senate’s plan, the less they like it. Why? They also understand that the Senate replacement plan is more about a tax cut for those who don’t need it than health care for those who need it most.
That became obvious Tuesday afternoon. Just as Republican senators were to march down Pennsylvania Avenue for a White House pep-talk with President Donald Trump, the vote on the bill was postponed until AFTER Congress’ July 4 recess.
We see that as good news. Between now and July 10th when the senators return to Washington, there will be plenty of time for them to talk with everyday North Carolinians about the plan and what they really think.
Here are some basics Burr, Tillis and the North Carolina Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives who voted to repeal Obamacare need to face:
- While not quite half of the state’s voters support Obamacare, merely 35 percent want it repealed and replaced by the plan that passed the House.
- Not even half of those who voted for Trump last fall support the plan passed by the House.
- Fifty-three percent of independent voters say they’re less likely to back reelection of an incumbent who supported the House plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Don’t doubt for a minute that Tillis, who will be running for his Senate seat again in 2020, isn’t aware of those numbers. It’s probably why he’s yet to stake out a position on the Senate bill. “I look forward to carefully reviewing the draft legislation over the next several days,” he said in a statement.
Burr, who says he isn’t seeking re-election, quickly came out in support of the Senate plan. “This draft legislation outlines a number of initiatives that are good for North Carolina,” Burr said.
Burr may be reconsidering. Republican senators are being flooded with calls, emails and messages via social media in opposition to the Senate health care plan.
With the recess, it is an opportunity for Burr and Tillis to get out and around North Carolina – holding public forums, town hall sessions and round-table discussions.
Not only should it be an opportunity to find out just how their constituents feel about the Senate’s plan – but also a chance for the senators to explain themselves and answer this basic question:
- Why is it OK to cut off health insurance for 1.3 million North Carolinians who have it today?