ACA

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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23 advocacy groups call on lawmakers to vote to sustain the Governor's veto and oppose anything short of closing the Medicaid coverage gap

23 advocacy groups signed on to a letter Wednesday asking lawmakers to vote to sustain Governor Cooper's veto of the Republican budget. The groups are calling on lawmakers to stand strong in favor of Medicaid expansion, which they call the "the single most powerful policy tool for improving community health, reducing poverty, and enhancing economic opportunity in our state"
 
The groups also opposed work requirements and premiums which would fall short of closing the Medicaid coverage gap.
 
"We oppose the addition of unnecessary and costly barriers to care. Work requirements tie up beneficiaries in red tape threatening enrollees with the loss of coverage. [...] The proposed two percent premium of HB655 would force enrollees to choose between health care and putting food on the table for their families. These road blocks are in opposition to the intention of Medicaid Expansion as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act and undermines the objective to provide coverage to the most vulnerable families in our state."
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REPORT: "Carolina Cares" puts politicians between patients and their doctors

The Republican health care plan puts politicians between patients and their doctors and fails thousands of North Carolina families by making health care more costly and complex. Read more here.
  • The 2019 Republican health care plan fails to cover thousands of North Carolina families by putting needless bureaucracy between patients and their doctors.
    • Most people who lose coverage under work requirement plans are complying with requirements and are dropped due to reporting issues.
    • 91,000 lost coverage after Indiana implemented a plan cited as the model by Republican legislators in North Carolina.
    • 17,000 lost coverage in Arkansas after the state passed work requirements later struck down by a federal judge.
  • The Republican plan puts politicians between patients and their doctors and creates a more costly and complex health care system.
    • Work requirements and premiums increase uncompensated care costs for hospitals that treat people regardless of whether or not they are insured. A system that forces more people to use the hospital to get care costs more.
    • Work requirements and premiums are a waste of taxpayer money.
    • Work requirements in other states have cost between $70 million and $170 million to implement; the federal government will not pay for much of the cost of implementation.
  • Most people eligible for Medicaid are already working and more red tape will make it harder for people in low-wage jobs to access care.
    • In Arkansas, similar legislation increased the number of uninsured people.

 

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Part 1: These Democrats voted against Medicaid expansion - here's what their vote cost their districts

Rep. Cecil Brockman’s district received more than $2.7M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 budget but could have benefitted from $683M in increased economic activity and $7.7M in increased tax revenue by 2022 with Medicaid expansion. 35,194 more people in Guilford county could have health care by 2022 if Medicaid were expanded.

Rep. Howard Hunter voted for a Republican budget that contained $100K in one-time grant money for his district. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion would bring in $30M in increased economic activity and $304K in tax revenue by 2022. 

Rep. Elmer Floyd’s district received nearly $1.4M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 Republican budget, but Medicaid expansion would bring $141M more in economic activity to his district. 18,451 people in Cumberland county could have health care by 2022 under Medicaid expansion. 

Read part one of the full report here.

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MEDICAID REPORT PART II: Republican plan won’t close the gap and will cost more

Republican health care plan could result in thousands losing coverage and is more costly and complex to implement than Medicaid expansion. Read the full report here.
  • The 2019 Republican health care planfails to cover thousands of North Carolina families.
    • Most people who lose coverage under work requirement plans are complying with requirements and are dropped due to reporting issues.
    • After Indiana implemented a plan cited as the model for the Republican plan 91,000 people were dropped from coverage
    • 17,000 Arkansans lost coverage under the state’s work requirements that were struck down by a federal judge
  • Implementation of the Republican plan would be more costly and complex than Medicaid Expansion.
    • Work requirements and premiums increase uncompensated care costs for hospitals which treat people regardless of whether or not they are insured. A system that forces more people to use the hospital to get care costs more.
    • States did not save tax dollars when they implemented work requirements and premiums.
    • Work requirements in other states have cost between $70 million and $170 million to implement, the federal government will not pay for much of the cost of implementation.

Read the full report here.

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Republican Senators announce health care plans that could exclude full coverage protections for workers.

Senate Bill 86 creates opportunities for small businesses to provide health care for employees using Association Health Plans (AHPs) authorized under federal guidelines. The Trump administration rolled out AHPs in June 2018, claiming they would result in lower prices and more choices for employers and employees. S86 would require coverage for people with preexisting conditions and allow parents to keep children on up to age 26.

AHPs don’t have as many consumer protections as other health plans. Due to this, economists and experts say AHPs are risky and likened them to “running with scissors.”AHPs do not have to cover the ten “essential health benefits” required under the ACA and could exclude coverage for prescription drugs, for example, and smaller employers could skip maternity coverage requirements. Protections written into AHPs for people with preexisting conditions would be weakened by plans that make chronic care patients jump through more hoops or pay high deductibles.AHPs cannot discriminate against sick individuals, but do not offer complete protections for people with preexisting conditions who could face “roadblocks in finding affordable, comprehensive coverage.”

Read more analysis of S86 here.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford)

Jon Hardister, the House Majority Whip and close ally of Speaker Tim Moore, was elected to represent Guilford County in 2012.

Since his election to the General Assembly, Hardister supported Republican budgets that shortchange public education by failing to meaningfully raise teacher salaries or fund classrooms.In 2017, the Republican budget gave no raises to beginning teachers and a 0.6 percent raise to experienced teachers— the equivalent of “just a tank of gas.” He has also supported moves to end tenure while asserting that having an advanced degree “does not necessarily make a teacher more effective.” Hardister called the 2017 budget “a commitment to public education.” This “commitment to public education” did not include a stipend to aid teachers with out-of-pocket expenses. After voting to pass the 2013 budget—which similarly failed to adequately fund schools— Hardister said he came to regret his vote after “experiencing firsthand how hard the teachers work.”

Hardister voted to deny affordable insurance to thousands.In 2013, he and the Republicans voted to block a fully-funded Medicaid expansion that covered half a million North Carolinians. Studies said this failure to expand affordable healthcare would cost the state $15 billion in new economic activity and 455 to 1,145 lives per year. Hardister later said it would be “unwise” to expand Medicaid and that we need to be “cautious about expanding the role of government in healthcare.” In 2018, Hardister and House Republicans used a loophole on a non-controversial bill to attempt to dismantle coverage for pre-existing conditions. By adding an amendment to an unrelated school psychologist licensure bill, Republicans tried to pass a statute that would discriminate against those with pre-existing health conditions, offer skimpy benefits, and come with few or no consumer protections.   

Hardister likes to harp on redistricting reform as a talking point but chose to repeatedly support unconstitutional districts that suppress voters’ electoral power. He has sponsored three independent redistricting bills, but they all stalled in committee. To avoid “double-bunking” with incumbent Guilford representative John Faircloth, Hardister moved, even though he says he believes the “seats don’t belong to us, they belong to the people.” After both the 2011 and 2017 legislative maps were struck down by the courts, Hardister said he believed the maps were “in compliance with the law.” He also helped draw the 2016 congressional maps that were later thrown out in court. When Sen. Trudy Wade tried to pass a Greensboro City Council redistricting bill, Hardister said he would oppose the bill. He “caved when it counted,” changing his vote at the last minute.

Read more here.

Photo: Greensboro News & Record
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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Donny Lambeth (R- Forsyth)

Donny Lambeth is a Republican legislator currently serving his third term representing HD75 in the North Carolina House. Before being elected to the General Assembly in 2012, Lambeth worked for Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he held 17 different job titles but most notably earned more than $1 million in a single year as the president.

Remarkably, only two years after Lambeth earned $1.2 million as a hospital executive, he voted against expanding basic health care access for low-income North Carolinians. Despite being considered “the legislature’s leading healthcare expert” he voted against expanding Medicaid coverage for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable populations. This vote resulted in hundreds and possibly thousands of lives lost across the state due to a lack of affordable health care.

Along with working for a medical center, Lambeth served as the chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board for over a decade and was a deeply controversial chairman. Parents and teachers complained that he “slept through meetings” and was “belligerent.” During his tenure, he criticized the state lawmakers for failing to fund public education.

However, since being elected to the House, he has fallen in line with the Republican trend of prioritizing tax cuts for corporations over paying teachers at the national average. Lambeth voted for multiple Republican budgets that fail to compensate hardworking teachers fairly and shortchange students by cutting education spending year after year.

Furthermore, Lambeth supported voter ID legislation, dubbed the “Monster” voter ID law, that was struck down in court for discriminating against African-American voters with “almost surgical precision.”

Read on for more about Rep. Lambeth.

Source: Morganton News Herald

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North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. Mike Clampitt (R-Haywood, Jackson, Swain)

Mike Clampitt is currently serving his first term in the NC House of Representatives for HD119 and lives in Bryson City, NC.Before finally winning election to the General Assembly in 2016, Clampitt ran unsuccessfully for public office several times. Losing twice in races for NC House and losing a 2010 bid for the Swain County Board of Commissioners.

North Carolina public schools are the largest employer in most of Clampitt’s district. Despite this, he supported bills that shortchange teachers and prioritize tax cuts for the wealthy over funding classrooms. Despite not being in office, he was an outspoken supporter of the 2013 budget, even though he was not in office. Clampitt voted for the 2017 budget which prioritized tax cuts for corporations over raising teacher pay and per pupil spending, forcing teachers to pay out of pocket for classroom supplies.

Clampitt voted to block an amendment that would have expanded access to health care for low-income, rural North Carolinians. He has the wrong priorities, voting for policies that benefit wealthy corporate interests over the people of HD119 who are working hard to make ends meet. All three counties Clampitt represents have a higher percent poverty rate than the statewide average along with a higher childhood poverty rate and a lower median income.

Clampitt voted for bills that roll back environmental protections, putting North Carolina’s natural resources and drinking water in jeopardy. He voted in favor of the “garbage juice” bill and for other bills that make it easier for large corporations to pollute North Carolina’s air, soil, and water.

Read on for more about Clampitt’s record during his first term in the NC House.

“Clampitt said that if elected he would not support more dollars for schools.” -Sylva Herald, 12/27/13

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Since Republicans have been in charge in Raleigh, the cost of health insurance has skyrocketed for North Carolinians, causing a detrimental impact on mental health services

Click here for more background on how N.C. Republicans have failed to address the needs of North Carolinians who live with mental illness and addiction. Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have failed to understand the connection between faltering mental health services in the sta…

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