Video: Missing the “Who” in Health Care

This week Real Facts NC launched a documentary series, Missing Us. The series focuses on capturing the effects of legislative decisions on the lives of North Carolinians through storytelling. The first installment highlights Greensboro resident Ali Collins and how, as a Black queer and trans person, his preexisting conditions make it harder for him to access health care. Future installments will cover health care from different perspectives.

On September 11, after telling Democrats and reporters that no votes would occur, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore called for a surprise vote in the House to override a veto of a budget that did not include Medicaid expansion. Most Democratic members were not present. House Republicans now say they’ll move forward with a plan that would expand Medicaid, but by tacking work requirements and premiums onto health care plans.

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David Lewis and Tim Moore have a long history of using lies and trickery to get their way

The havoc they’ve wreaked on democracy isn’t surprising given their history.

Last week’s surprise budget vote rattled even the most seasoned political insiders. Generally, bipartisan consensus was that House Speaker Tim Moore’s maneuver was a “new low” for North Carolina politics, which was no small feat considering the number of lows that have drawn national attention over the past few years.

Looking further into Moore’s background reveals the origin and precedent for his contempt for the democratic process. Those who follow #ncpol closely know Moore and his “top lieutenant,” Rep. David Lewis, the powerful House Rules Chair and Senior Chair of the current redistricting process, have used lies and secret maneuvers to railroad a conservative agenda since 2010. Yet few know Moore’s penchant for trickery extends as far back as student government at UNC-Chapel Hill. Probably even fewer know that Moore and Lewis’ friendship extends back to their time together as College Republicans at Campbell University. 

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Video: Missing Us: Real Facts NC Documentary Series Illuminates Pitfalls of Health Care Access

Heath care access has been central to conversations about North Carolina politics. In addition to the surprise passing of the state budget, bills like S86, which aims to provide coverage for small businesses, trade associations, and other groups of professionals who are in the same industry or line of work through what’s called an “association health plan,”leaving health care coverage for many North Carolinians in limbo. Current counter-proposal legislation from the NC GOP adds work requirements. Additionally, new prerequisites to Medicaid access in the state budget could leave residents seeking care without essential benefits and North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions without equal access. Bills and proposals like these could undermine the DHHS’ ability to “protect people’s health and safety.” Access is already a struggle for people with pre-existing conditions, many of whom already suffer from a lack of safety and health care access.

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Surprise vote is new low for House Republicans desperate to deny heath care for 500,000 people.

  Deb Butler does not yield. (from John Autry on Vimeo.) What just happened? Why is everyone freaking out?  In an early morning session, the North Carolina House, under the direction of Speaker Tim Moore, overrode Gov. Cooper’s budget veto in a surprise vote. What budge…

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21 unconstitutional laws passed under the cloud of a racial gerrymander

For five years now, Republican majorities in the North Carolina legislature have been elected under maps that have been found to violate the Constitutional rights of North Carolinians. The nation’s highest court – including a Justice appointed by President Donald Trump - found these legislators’ actions discriminatory yet they treat this news like another round of a child’s game. We have seen why fair and nondiscriminatory representation is important time and again. 

Fourteen times, laws enacted by this unconstitutional General Assembly have been found unconstitutional. Laws that have rigged the system and earned North Carolina headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Whether it’s restricting women’s access to health care or the worst voter suppression law in the country, these unconscionable actions by the Republican led General Assembly have hurt every citizen of this state. In their decision striking down the voter suppression law, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called out North Carolina Republicans for targeting black voters “with almost surgical precision.” When will it end? 

From the State Supreme Court to the Fourth Circuit and all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, courts have not been fooled by the actions of North Carolina Republicans who have enacted laws under the dark cloud of a racial gerrymander. The cases range from the drawing of district maps to coal ash to defunding Planned Parenthood to Elections and Ethics Reform, taking power away from the Governor. In each instance, the rulings have been clear that the partisan power grabs are wrong and they must end. 

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North Carolina partisan gerrymandering decision has precedent around the nation; other states model possible remedies

This week a three-judge panel struck down North Carolina’s state legislative districts on the grounds of unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. In a landmark decision after years of litigation, the judges determined that the state’s partisan gerrymandering was so egregious that it violated the state’s constitutional clauses guaranteeing equal protection and free elections. Lighting a proverbial fire under state legislative leaders, the court ordered a redraw within two weeks without the use of “election data.” Any delay could result pushing back 2020 primaries. 

The North Carolina decision is significant because it is the first to come after the Supreme Court punted on  Rucho v. Common Cause. In a 5-4 decision in June of this year, the court ruled that questions of partisangerrymandering (as opposed to racialgerrymandering on which SCOTUS issued a definitive rebuke of North Carolina’s maps in 2017) are out of the purview of federal courts. The question rests in state hands and the North Carolina judiciary gave a decisive answer. 

North Carolina is hardly unique in its years-long battle over Republican partisan gerrymandering. Nationally, with few exceptions, state legislatures draw political districts. Subsequently, bitter legal fights over the concentration of political power ensued in other deeply divided swing states (notably Pennsylvania and Florida). In January 2018 the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s GOP-drawn congressional districts were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders. In a “scathing indictment of political gerrymandering,” the ruling struck down maps deemed one of the top three starkest partisan gerrymanders in the country. Similar to North Carolina, the court found that Pennsylvania’s districts were “tortuously drawn” with Democratic voters “packed” into concentrated districts to dilute their political power (a tactic Democratic voters in North Carolina will find familiar). 

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Fact Check: NC House Republicans' Claims on House Bill 370

Republicans' claims are more about fear-mongering and defending Trump's policies than protecting communities.

In an August 1st interview with WUNC, N.C House Speaker Tim Moore said the House would vote on H370 once “rhetoric” on immigration “calm[ed] down.” Instead, Moore waited until ICE issued a press release attacking Mecklenburg Sherriff Garry McFadden.

The GOP’s claims about H370 are more about fear-mongering and defending the Trump administration’s unconstitutional immigration policies than about protecting communities. Having not learned their lesson from HB2, Republican leaders in Raleigh are again trying to meddle in local issues to energize their base by discriminating against North Carolinians. Advocacy groups across a broad range of issues, business leaders still concerned about HB2’s lasting impacts on the state, faith leaders, and local elected officials all say this bill makes N.C. more discriminatory and less safe.

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While we’ve been waiting on Tim Moore to realize he doesn’t have the budget votes, House Republicans keep failing North Carolinians on health care.

Last week Rep. Brandon Lofton (D-Mecklenburg) tried to amend an omnibus health care bill that changes several laws regulating different aspects of the broad health care industry. His amendment, which would have increased price transparency for prescription drugs, was ruled out of order. 

At a time when drug prices for many North Carolinians are skyrocketing, Republicans voted down one method of mitigating increased costs.
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Video: Rep. Cecil Brockman is a political strategist, that’s why he’s siding with Republicans on health care and education in his safe Democratic district

At a High Point, NC, town hall meeting last week Rep. Cecil Brockman (D-Guilford) shared with voters that he was a “political strategist” before being elected to the NC House. Brockman then cited his strategist background as the reason he plans to join Republicans in overriding Governor Cooper’s veto of their budget. 

Brockman represents a safe Democratic House seat. In House District 60 (Guilford county), nearly 52 percent of registered voters in the district are Democrats and Brockman won reelection in 2018 with 69 percent of the vote. Prior to 2018 no Republican had run for HD60 since 2010

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Just days after the El Paso shooting Pat McCrory compared his HB2 protestors to “the Klan times two”

This past Sunday, ex-Governor Pat McCrory chose to go on Meet the Press not even 48 hours after the white supremacist massacre in El Paso and center himself in the wake of the deadliest attack targeting Mexican immigrants in modern US History. Supposedly there to discuss how the nation should address gun safety and white nationalism, McCrory, in a cynical display of whataboutism, expressed that “the Left” was just as violent as right-wing white nationalist groups and cited his personal experience with anti-HB2 protesters to back up this claim.

The next day on his radio talk show, McCrory addressed his controversial Meet the Press claims. He doubled down on his accusations that “the Left” is just as dangerous as white supremacist terrorists, and claimed that antifa members, who McCrory alleges attacked his taxi following President Trump’s inauguration, “were like the Klan times two.” There was wide coverage of protesters heckling McCrory at the inauguration over his involvement in the discriminatory HB2 bathroom bill, but no reports that protesters were members of antifa. Furthermore, no mainstream media reports of the taxi attack exist. 

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