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Docs bash Berger's 'Obamacare' petition

Posted February 11, 2013 5:14 p.m. EST
Updated February 11, 2013 7:07 p.m. EST

— Some North Carolina doctors who came to the legislature Monday to argue for Medicaid expansion also weighed in on a controversial petition pushed by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger.

The "Stop ObamaCare" petition, posted on Berger's campaign website, says the Affordable Care Act will result in:

  • "The government turning our health records over to the IRS"
  • "Government-forced insurance"
  • "Billions in new taxes on businesses and the people of North Carolina" 

As WRAL News reported Friday, several statements in the petition are misleading at best.

Doctors at the news conference called them "lies."

"Sen. Berger has created a website that – it’s disgraceful. It’s filled with complete lies about the Affordable Care Act," said Dr. Charles van der Horst, a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "He’s just not expressing any logic or any sense."

Workforce health expert and nursing professor Dr. Brenda Clary added, “Having done an in-depth analysis of the Affordable Care Act when I was at the AARP public policy institute for three years, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it does not include turning over health records to the IRS.”

Clary said health records are protected by another federal law – HIPAA – passed in 1996. “That would prevent anyone from from releasing your health care records without your permission. So, I just ask you to consider that as well.”

On the Senate floor Monday night, Berger, R-Rockingham, downplayed the comments.

"It is not surprising to me that some of those folks would react or overreact to any statements that are made that criticize Obamacare," he said.

He defended his claim about health records, saying that the definition of such a record is open for debate.

"Is information about whether or not you have health insurance that covers certain things, is that a health record? And if so, isn't that requiring that a health record be turned over?" he said.

"What’s truly disgraceful is a professor using his university post to push a misleading and partisan political agenda," said Ray Martin, of the North Carolina Republican Party.