Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Senate's plan - Cutting care for needy, giving tax cuts to greedy

Posted July 11

A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, July 11, 2017; Editorial # 8184
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

How can a responsible senator vote for legislation knowing it will take health care from those who now have it, need it and wouldn’t have it otherwise? The answer seems obvious: Party-line politics.

Like many in the nation’s capital, North Carolina’s two senators seem more concerned with what it will take to get 51 votes to pass a new health care plan than what it takes to make sure all Americans can afford health care.

Sen. Richard Burr had hardly let the ink dry on the Senate’s tax-cut disguised as a health-care package before he announced support for it. North Carolina’s other Republican in the Senate, Thom Tillis, says he’ll back anything that will get 51 votes.

Tillis led the N.C. House of Representatives when the legislature, in mean and blindly partisan anti-Obama stubbornness, refused to take billions in federal funds to expand Medicaid to half-a million North Carolinians without access to health coverage.

The proposal now before the U.S. Senate would take coverage away from as many as 22 million Americans, including 1.3 million North Carolinians, who now have health care through the Affordable Care Act. That doesn’t include the half-million in North Carolina who never gained access to care because of the state legislature’s mean-spirited obstinance.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised that no one would lose health coverage. Yet, Trump gathered House members at the White House for a photo-op to praise their terrible bill that would rip health coverage away from 24 million Americans. Only days later the president called it “mean” legislation and promised the Senate’s version would be better.

Of course, the Senate’s isn’t an improvement.

For eight years Congress has railed and postured against Obamacare – casting vote upon meaningless vote to repeal it. Hardly a peep was made about adjusting and improving the law to solve its problems.

Turns out all the political ranting was more about getting the partisan base worked up -- than it was about a plan to deliver health care to the nation. It was all show and no action.

Backing a health care plan that offers tax cuts for the wealthy while taking health care away from those in need is a betrayal by our representatives in Washington. Burr, Tillis and the nine House Republicans from North Carolina who back these awful plans are betraying those who elected them. Even a majority of those in the state who voted for Trump say they are very concerned that the Senate plan will increase health care costs.

Gov. Roy Cooper, soon after taking office, initiated efforts to take the federal funding and expand Medicaid to those who’d been left out. That effort, due to legal challenges from legislative leaders, remains tied up in the courts – imagine that.

Cooper, and those who do support expanding access to health care to more Americans, need to call out our members of congress and legislators. If they don’t believe access to health care is a right for all Americans, they should say it and not hide behind slogan like “repeal and replace” – particularly when it’s clear that there’s been no real thought given to any replacement.

While the president seems desperate to have ANY health care bill passed, it should be a good bill that IMPROVES on what people have today. Anything that reduces services or trims the number of people who receive support should be defeated.

Republicans now find that Obamacare wasn’t just a punching bag, but a sparring partner that’s become tough to knock down.

* * *

BY THE NUMBERS: COSTS OF DENYING HEALTH INSURANCE IN N.C.

2014-16 Jan. - June 2017 TOTAL
Diabetics without medication* 81,132 13,524 94,566
Annual mammograms missed* 36,153 6,024 42,178
Deaths* 3,435 to 1,355 870 to 228 4,290 to 1,583
Federal Funding Lost** $9 billion $727.2 million $9.7272 billion
Jobs Not Created** 34,700 7,038 41,738

*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

9 Comments

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  • Chris Perdue Jul 11, 11:43 a.m.
    user avatar

    Didn't take long for this to leave the front page when the comments did not go in the direction CBC was hoping. Happens every time.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jul 11, 10:24 a.m.
    user avatar

    Obama and the Liberals caused all the problems, and like Hillary wants to blame everyone else.

  • Teddy Fowler Jul 11, 9:56 a.m.
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    The people I know who had individual insurance prior to Obamacare... lost their policy, lost their doctors, and pay about twice as much as they used to and their out of pocket is much much higher... the only people that Obamacare is good for are those who are heavily subsidized by taxpayers and get Obamacare either free or almost free...

  • Deborah Turner Jul 11, 9:11 a.m.
    user avatar

    I man several years ago was diagnosed with intestinal cancer. He had no health insurance to help cover surgery and treatment. He robbed a pawn shop here in NC and was sentenced to five years. He had surgery and treatment while in prison at no cost to him. That has been nine years ago and he is doing fine. We know this man. Our inmates are given the best of care at taxpayer cost.

  • Sean Creasy Jul 11, 8:57 a.m.
    user avatar

    Coming from someone who doesn't pay for their own health insurance you sure do love to spew about how "great" Obamacare is.. Why don't you interview some middle class working folks and get their opinions? Oh wait that would totally go against the party line BS you are spouting here and blow your insurance stock out out of the water if Congress actually listens to us wouldn't it?

  • Chris Perdue Jul 11, 8:54 a.m.
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    You are not ripping something away if you are simply not forcing them to purchase it through a government imposed fine. ER visits have increased under the ACA and they were supposed to go down. Medicaid expansion includes allowing able bodied men and women who choose not to work to have FREE health insurance with no co-pays, no deductibles, and no Rx costs, no nothing. Only problem is finding docs to take it--that is why they all go to the ER. Also, ER's have become the go to place for opiates. Bill Clinton said it best last year when he stated it was the craziest thing he had seen that people busting it 60 hours/week were paying twice as much as before and getting half the coverage. His words not mine.

  • James Marley Jul 11, 8:49 a.m.
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    Talk about a jaded view, my goodness. Here is a news flash Obamacare sucks just as bad if not worse. Pre Obamacare my premiums where 523 for my family of four. As of this year it is now 1098. Never saw my 2,500 reduction Obama promised a thousand times over.

    Here is a newsflash both parties lie and only answer to their corporate backers, not us the American people. CBC needs to wake up to the fact that we live in a Plutocracy. Its not hard to figure out.

    Then again CBC is not very honest about anything.

  • Nathaniel Lincoln Jul 11, 7:51 a.m.
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    "Giving Taxes Cuts?" If you want to sound intelligent while spewing anti conservative propaganda you should at least use proper grammar. I'm not perfect either but this is not my job.

  • Johnathan Doe Jul 11, 6:51 a.m.
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    So the exponential increases in premiums and deductibles are ok for those stuck paying the bill? The reason obamacare is so difficult to get rid of is the welfare built into it via subsidized premiums. They need to flat out repeal obamacare(including all of the related tax increases) and get the gov't out of the health insurance business.