Political Notebook: Democrats celebrate Obamacare’s 10th anniversary

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Ten years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, it’s “more valuable — and popular — than ever,” N.C. Democratic Party spokesman Robert Howard said in a Monday news release.

“To mark the anniversary, North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman (Wayne) Goodwin recommitted to building on the law’s successes and holding Republicans accountable for trying to tear it down,” Howard said.

“The ACA has helped as many as 500,000 North Carolinians obtain quality, affordable health care coverage and enshrined protections for 4 million North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions,” Howard continued. “Countless others have benefited from other vital patient protections, such as making it illegal for insurers to deny coverage over a pre-existing condition or charge women more for their health care than men, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ plans, requiring coverage of preventative services and essential health benefits and much more.”

Goodwin said the N.C. Democratic Party is committed to building on the Affordable Care Act and opposing efforts to rescind or dilute it.

“Despite the law unquestionably helping so many Tar Heel families, Republicans like Sen. (Thom) Tillis and President Trump have tried relentlessly to rip away protections for people with pre-existing conditions and undermine access to vital health care coverage,” Goodwin said in the release. “North Carolinians’ health care is not safe until Democrats take back the White House and the Senate, and voters will hold Republicans like Senator Tillis accountable this fall for relentlessly attacking their health care.”

Tillis seeks compromise on coronavirus relief

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., called for compromise on Sunday after the Senate rejected a procedural vote opening debate on the CARES Act. The act is an economic stabilization package with direct payments to North Carolinians.

“Tillis voted in favor of opening debate on the legislation, which would give negotiators an additional 30 hours to reach a bipartisan compromise agreement,” according to Daniel Keylin, a Tillis spokesman.

“Our nation is being confronted with an unprecedented crisis,” Tillis said in a release. “This is the time that our leaders must work together at warp speed, with the understanding that neither party will be able to get everything it wants, but that we all need to be willing to compromise. Attempts to score cheap, partisan political points only betray the trust and confidence of the American people and come at the expense of quickly implementing the solutions we need to stabilize our economy and provide hardworking North Carolinians with direct financial assistance. I will continue to do my part to forge consensus, and it’s time for my colleagues in the House and Senate to rise to the occasion by casting partisanship aside in order to put the physical and economic health of our nation first.”

On Monday, Tillis sent a letter to President Trump in support of Gov. Roy Cooper’s disaster declaration request for North Carolina to help combat COVID-19.

“North Carolina continues to respond to this unfolding global pandemic,” Tillis wrote. “Thus far, there have been 297 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our state has and continues to take unprecedented actions to combat the spread of the virus, protect public health and mitigate the severity of its impact. The widespread impact of this disaster has exceeded the state and local governments’ capabilities. Immediate action is critical to stem the spread and impacts of COVID-19. We respectfully request your fair and timely consideration of the governor’s request.”

Conservative group seeks abortion clinic closures

The North Carolina Values Coalition says clinics that perform abortions should shut down in order to halt the spread of coronavirus.

“Abortion centers are putting women at risk by opening their doors, while almost all other health providers have halted elective medical procedures,” Executive Director Tami Fitzgerald wrote in a Monday news release. “On Saturday, pro-life groups in Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro observed 20 to 40 patients visiting each abortion center, which significantly exceeds the national guidance of no more than 10 people in one place.

“At a time when almost half of coronavirus cases are ages 20-39, it is irresponsible and dangerous for abortionists to put patients at risk of contracting the virus and to consume masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment that is in short supply, putting health workers across the nation at risk.”

Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive orders have required some businesses to change the way they operate or temporarily close their doors to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. No health care providers have been shuttered, though hospitals have announced visitor restrictions and some doctor offices are limiting the number of patients and visitors who can occupy their facilities at the same time.

Dems seek Burr’s resignation over stock sale

The N.C. Democratic Party called on Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., to step down Friday after reports emerged that Burr unloaded stocks in the days leading up to the coronavirus’ Wall Street wobble.

“Three weeks ago, before selling $1.7 million worth of stocks, Sen. Richard Burr ‘behind closed doors’ warned members of a private organization that the coronavirus was ‘much more aggressive than anything we have seen in recent history.’” according to a release from the state Democratic Party. “In public, he struck a different tone, downplaying the severity. Later, new reporting revealed Burr had sold huge amounts of stocks collectively worth $628,000 to $1.7 million just days before markets took major dips. Sen Richard Burr used his position and access to highly sensitive information to profit by selling stock just a week before the market crashed due to a deadly virus sweeping our nation.”

The N.C. Democratic Party also sought investigations into the stock sale.

“Senator Burr has betrayed the trust of every North Carolinian in a time of crisis and should resign immediately,” state party Chairman Wayne Goodwin said in the release. “The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice should immediately launch investigations into whether Senator Burr violated federal law by using inside information to profit. And Senator Burr must answer immediately to North Carolina families what he heard that led him to sell his stock and when he heard it.”

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK is a weekly roundup of local and state political news from The Wilson Times’ reporting staff. Send tips and comments to editor@wilsontimes.com.