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By Rob Thompson

Untitled designThe numbers are sobering. 142,000 more uninsured children in North Carolina. At least $770 billion cut from Medicaid, leading to drastic reductions in services for children that remain insured. 22 million more uninsured Americans.

These are the staggering consequences of the Senate’s proposal to cut and cap Medicaid and to roll back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Any legislation with this kind of human impact demands the most thorough consideration. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s senators voted yesterday in support of this bill, and it appears that they did so with very little regard for the consequences.

Sen. Richard Burr on voting for the motion to proceed: “It doesn’t concern me. As I said, I’ll vote for anything.”

Sen. Thom Tillis: “I’m supportive of anything right now to get to 51 votes.”

I’ll tell you who does care about what’s in the bill—the parents of medically-fragile children who rely on Medicaid for life-saving medical equipment; the children in foster care who are overcoming trauma with the support of Medicaid-funded services; the families of children who have serious medical conditions, such as cancer, who could lose insurance if lifetime limits are reinstated. Not to mention the one million children in North Carolina who rely on Medicaid for basic health care services.

Despite Senator Tillis’ and Senator Burr’s support, the first vote on the Senate health care bill failed with nine Republicans voting against it. Unfortunately, Senate leadership will continue to put out new proposals over the next few days in a desperate effort to get anything passed. Senators Burr and Tillis will again have a choice, and it’s a choice we hope they take seriously. They can vote for anything that gets 51 votes; or, they can protect the health and future of our state’s children.

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