State News

Democrats pressuring Ellmers on health care

Posted January 18, 2011 8:49 a.m. EST
Updated January 19, 2011 8:56 a.m. EST

Renee Ellmers

— Democrats in North Carolina are trying to pressure Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers to support the health care overhaul that passed Congress last year.

The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America project is holding a phone bank Tuesday to call constituents in Ellmers' district.

Republicans are looking to repeal the health care measure this week. Ellmers is a career nurse and North Carolina's newest member of Congress after ousting a Democratic incumbent in November. Her campaign message largely focused on repealing the law.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report Tuesday that estimated 4.1 million North Carolina residents could be denied insurance coverage if the health care law is repealed because they have pre-existing health problems.

“The Affordable Care Act is stopping insurance companies from discriminating against Americans with pre-existing conditions and is giving us all more freedom and control over our health care decisions,”  Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

The HHS report said up to 129 million people nationwide have pre-existing conditions that could leave them uninsured without the protections offered by the year-old law.

Ellmers is the only North Carolina member of the delegation that the Democrats are trying to sway. She issued a statement late Tuesday that the effort won't affect her vote.

"Some people might find it unusual that a politician would follow through on a pledge, but I ran for Congress on a simple platform – to cut spending, cut taxes and repeal 'Obamacare,'" she said. "With one of my first votes in the 112th Congress, I will keep my promise and vote to repeal it. No matter how much the Democrats wish to attack me for it, I am following through on a pledge that obviously resonated with the voters."