Affordable health care is under assault in Raleigh.

The new state legislative Republican majority is already moving on its effort to undermine health care reform. HB 2, their first bagful of sand in the gears of health care, is laughingly mis-named the “Protect Health Care Freedom” bill.

Protect health care freedom? HB 2 would be more accurately known as the “Protect Freedom from Affordable Health Care” or perhaps “Protect Freedom to Suffer from Lack of Health Care” bill.

Please join me in telling your legislative representatives, and the media, that this is unacceptable—and why. I’ve copied my message to my own legislators below. Please write your own. We cannot stay silent.

Thank you!

Dan

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From: Dan Besse
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2011 10:45 AM
To: Bill McGee
Cc: Pete Brunstetter; John Railey; Laura Graff; Layla Farmer; Kevin Walker
Subject: health care legislation

Bill,

I’m writing as your constituent to urge you to remove your name from HB 2 and to oppose its passage.

I have known too many people who have suffered hardship and failed health due to their inability to afford care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, like any product of compromise in a complex area of economic policy, is not a perfect plan. It can use improvements. However, it represents a critically necessary start toward closing the health care coverage gap for tens of millions of American citizens.

One of the most critical steps in that legislation is the prohibition against denying coverage for “pre-existing health conditions”. And, unfortunately, that key step will not work without an accompanying coverage mandate. In the unlikely event that HB 2 and similar state laws were to be ruled Constitutionally controlling over conflicting federal law, it would represent an economic catastrophe. Millions of currently-healthy individuals would drop coverage, secure in the knowledge that when they become ill, they can sign up then.

I am sure that it cannot be your intention to collapse the private health insurance market in that fashion. I can only conclude, then, that this is either a first step toward subsequently repealing the protections against denial for “pre-existing conditions” as “unaffordable”; or, that many of those who have signed on to this legislation in the political heat of the moment haven’t thought through its consequences.

I know you to be a thoughtful and effective legislator. I urge you to reconsider your position on this critical matter.

Thank you.

Dan

Comments

They won't listen

I appreciate your taking the bulls by the horns, so to speak, but from all the exchanges I've had thus far, Republicans in Raleigh couldn't care less what people in North Carolina think. They're on a mission from Art Pope to undermine the effectiveness of government at every turn.

I say, "fuck 'em." It's time to let these assholes have their way. Let them go ahead and destroy the very fabric of our society, and let the chips fall where they may after that, falling along with thousands of people who will slip through the cracks and suffer. That's the only path I can see to opening the eyes of the mindless North Carolina voters who elected the Tarheel Taliban in the first place.

James

PS I have written heard from several Republican legislators on other issues. Their response has been: You're not in my district, and besides, elections have consequences. So with all due respect, and it is considerable, you're wasting your breath. Art Pope has a plan, and what you think is not part of it.

More assaults on the way: Redefining rape

From Mother Jones:

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to "forcible rape." This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible. For example: If a 13-year-old girl is impregnated by a 24-year-old adult, she would no longer qualify to have Medicaid pay for an abortion. (Smith's spokesman did not respond to a call and an email requesting comment.)

The Republican leadership does not care.

But individual Republican legislators are subject to influence by what they hear from their own constituents and in their local press.

I don't expect to change the votes of Bill McGee or Pete Brunstetter on this. I do expect them to recognize the degree of heat they're going to take over it, and to note when it comes from unexpected directions or with higher vehemence than they may have anticipated.

I expect that to affect how hard they push this, and how anxious they are to take on other, equally divisive issues that they understand will undermine their middle ground supporters. All rational politicians know that they have only so many green stamps to spend, and they are constantly recalibrating where to put them.

Skip Stam couldn't care less--but not every Republican legislator is Skip Stam.

Dan Besse

Thank god for that

Skip Stam couldn't care less--but not every Republican legislator is Skip Stam.

Nothing like an evangelical Christian attorney trying to implement his own whacked out version of Sharia Law right here in the Old North State.