Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Burr and Tillis stop fighting Obama, fix Obamacare

Posted September 26

CBC Editorial: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017; Editorial # 8215
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

When the fact-checkers judge late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel's evaluation of the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act as more accurate than the bill’s sponsors – there’s a problem.

There’s also a problem when any legislation, particularly an effort to overhaul a massive health services program, is developed behind closed doors and rushed to consideration without anyone understanding how it works or what impact it might have.

There's a problem when virtually no health care providers, those responsible for delivering services under the bill, offer even token support.

Monday evening, the Congressional Budget Office said this latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave "millions" of Americans without insurance. The report didn’t offer more detailed numbers, saying such an analysis would take more time. However, independent analyses from by the Brookings Institution and the Commonwealth Fund estimated up to 18 million more would lose their coverage through 2019 and 21 million more uninsured through 2026 if Graham-Cassidy became law.

Three reputable studies show that North Carolina will lose billions of health care dollars under the Graham-Cassidy bill and that those with pre-existing medical conditions will face steeper costs or be shutout of health coverage.

There's a problem when folks in Washington keep trying to abolish a program Americans say they like. Americans prefer Obamacare over the proposed Graham-Cassidy bill by 56-33 percent according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. A new Public Policy Polling national survey found 54 percent approve of the Affordable Care Act while 38 percent disapprove.

Still, Sen. Thom Tillis says Graham-Cassidy is “a good step” because it transforms Obamacare into a block-grant program administered by the states. Does that mean states could just opt out all together?

Will North Carolina be better off, Sen. Tillis, if it can say to the 1.6 million adults with pre-existing health conditions – including the 86,000 who get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act – that they won’t be covered any more or will have to pay more for coverage that probably won’t be as good?

North Carolina stands to lose under the plan because -- even though it rejected the federally-funded Medicaid expansion -- it was very successful at getting citizens enrolled in the Affordable Health Care health insurance market place. The new bill would penalize the state for that effort. A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimates we could see a $5.7 billion to $8.1 billion loss in health care funding under the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

This notion that Americans should have health coverage isn’t a pipedream puffed up by mushy do-gooders. President Donald Trump was unequivocal earlier this year.

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump boasted to the Washington Post just days before he was inaugurated. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us. … It will be in a much simplified form. Much less expensive and much better.”

That is the standard the president set for his political party and Congress. How can Tillis and Burr even consider voting for a bill that falls so short of that goal?

It is past time to end the subterfuge and political wheeling and dealing.

Rather than fighting Obamacare, Tillis and Burr need to be working to improve the shortcomings of a program Americans have embraced.


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

2014-16 Jan.-Sept. 2017 TOTAL
Diabetics Without Medication* 81,132 12,286 101,436
Annual Mammograms Missed* 36,153 9,036 45,190
Deaths* 3,435 to 1,355 1,305 to 342 4,725 to 1,697
Federal Funding Lost** $9 billion $1.0908 billion $10.0908 billion
Jobs Not Created** 43,700 10,557 44,257

*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

19 Comments

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  • Carl Keehn Sep 26, 4:06 p.m.
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    No, you didn't and you know very well, that you didn't. The recent repeal attempts were done behind closed doors and the only people with input were the small number of people in the committee. The Democrats were not INVITED to have any input into the process and the lack of debate and public hearing meant that nobody else were involved either.

  • Teddy Fowler Sep 26, 3:32 p.m.
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    so it sounds like you are saying that the Republicans participated in Obamacare back in the day.... but now the Democrats are simply not participating at all in the repeal and replacement of Obamacare... Did I get that right?

  • Ralph Savary Sep 26, 2:29 p.m.
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    So keep fighting it and keep losing. Time to grow up and work for the good of the country, not the individual party.

  • David Doucette Sep 26, 12:42 p.m.
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    If your memory fails you, you can look up in the public record the number of public hearings over many months that there were for the ACA and the hundreds of amendments, put forth by both Republicans and Democrats and that over nearly 150 Republican amendments were added to the bill. This is all documented public record.
    Comparing that to literal behind closed door meetings by Republicans on the last bill and a single 90 minute 'hearing' in which only Graham and Cassidy testified on the most recent bill with no public of Democratic input is either cognitive dissonance or willful ignorance.

  • Andrew Stephenson Sep 26, 12:18 p.m.
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    You don't have to "remember" anything. We are in the age of the internet. You are sitting in front of a computer. Articles from every publication are still available.

    I mean, CNN even did a timeline on how it all went down, in 2012.
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/28/politics/supreme-court-health-timeline/index.html

  • Cnc Stone Sep 26, 12:08 p.m.
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    Stop fighting Obamacare ,,, ? Lol
    They r all progressive liberals ALL!

  • Chris Perdue Sep 26, 12:03 p.m.
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    Medicare for all. Who is going to pay for this coverage? Medicare is going broke just trying to cover seniors. Contrary to popular belief, Medicare is not free. Ask any senior who has it. Very few doctors are taking new Medicare patients. Is the gov't going to force them to take patients? Maybe Senator Menendez (D) from Jersey can help with the rampant fraud with Medicare. Will there be supplemental coverage available for us to cover the other 20% that Medicare does not pay? Or will we not have to pay 20%, but the seniors will continue to have to do so. What about Part D? Is that going to be free to us but not the seniors? Lots of questions to be answered. The haves will continue to access private care and the rest will be subject to gov't run clinics and hospitals. Say goodbye to your private room at Rex or Duke and hello to a big ward full of people. Where do you think the best physicians will be? Working for Duke or UNC or the government? Just things to consider.

  • John Darson Sep 26, 12:03 p.m.
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    Why is WRAL writing this editorial? All good Republicans know the Party-line is more important than the American people.

  • John Donnee Sep 26, 12:03 p.m.
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    The problem that I have with this CBC Editorial is that it does not define who the survey people were that were polled. Let's not forget that it's only 2 percent of the people who use Obamacare. The average Obamacare policy for those not getting any Federal subsidy is $900-$1,300 per month with. $5,000.00 deductible. I would think that if a survey was taken of actual Obamacare users who do not get a subsidy, the numbers would be totally different.

  • Carl Keehn Sep 26, 11:53 a.m.
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    Sadly, your memory is faulty. The ACA did take a year to pass, did have public hearings and did incorporate a significant number of Republican Amendments.

    None of the recent repeal efforts involved bipartisan efforts, were conducted in secret and had little or no public hearing.

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