Burr Backtracks: Tries to Ditch Harmful Medicare Plan As Election Nears

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, September 8, 2016

CONTACT: Matt Kravitz, 919.438.1836

or mkravitz@ncdp.org

 

Burr Backtracks: Tries to Ditch Harmful Medicare Plan As Election Nears

Senator Burr Realizes His Harmful Medicare Plan Hurts His Re-election, Not Just Seniors; Disavows Plan He Called “Tremendous” And “Responsible”

 

RALEIGH, N.C. – As reported in the Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer, Senator Richard Burr says he’s dropping his Medicare plan, having realized his plan wouldn’t just hurt seniors’ bank accounts, it would also hurt him at the ballot box.

 

Burr, who accepted $1 million in campaign contributions from insurance companies, wrote a plan that would turn Medicare into a voucher program and drive up costs for seniors while helping insurance companies profit. He called it “tremendous” and “responsible.” But last night, with the election near and the race in a statistical tie, his campaign told the Raleigh News & Observer that he “no longer plans to introduce the proposal formally as a bill.”

 

“Last night Richard Burr showed once again that he’s a classic example of what’s wrong with Washington. He took $1 million from his special interest friends in the insurance industry, wrote a plan to help them profit while forcing seniors to pay hundreds of dollars more for their health care, and now that he’s realized that plan would hurt him at the ballot box, he’s decided to try to cover his tracks,” said Matt Kravitz, Press Secretary for the North Carolina Democratic Party. “This is just the latest example of Richard Burr standing up for whatever works for him and his special interest friends, but not what works for North Carolina voters. And that’s why they are saying it’s time for a change.” 

 

Background

 

Burr’s Medicare Plan would hurt North Carolina seniors…

 

Burr Medicare Plan Would Raise Standard Medicare Part B Premiums By 9 Percent, Up To Roughly $240 Annually. “Burr–Coburn would raise the standard Medicare Part B premiums from 25 percent to 34 percent of total premium costs over three years. The Senators say that the impact would be on the order of roughly $15 to $20 per month.” [Heritage Foundation, 4/2012]

 

Burr’s Plan Would Raise The Medicare Eligibility Age To 67. Like Ryan, Coburn and Burr would gradually raise the eligibility age to 67. But their plan also differs in several important ways. It would start the transition to a system dominated by private insurance plans in 2016 instead of waiting a decade, as Ryan has proposed. [Associated Press, 2/16/12]

 

National Committee To Preserve Social Security And Medicare Said The Plan Tells Seniors “Here’s a Coupon, Good Luck.” “The Coburn/Burr legislation proposed today would: provide seniors a voucher for their health care that could shift a growing share of Medicare costs to beneficiaries without reducing overall costs in the program, undermine traditional Medicare, leave millions of seniors without health coverage in retirement, and raise premiums for middle-class retirees…. We can continue to provide health coverage for our nation’s retired workers without simply telling them ‘here’s a coupon, good luck’. [NCPSSM, 2/16/12]

 

… but Burr praised it nonetheless…

 

Richard Burr Described His Medicare Plan As “A Tremendous Blue Print” To Reform The Program. BURR: “What we’ve done is we put together a tremendous blue print that will seek the input of seniors, stakeholders, insurance companies and government officials for the next several months.” [Starting Point, CNN, 2/16/12]

 

Richard Burr: Medicare Reform Proposal Was “The Responsible Thing.” BURR [11:22]: What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to stimulate that national debate that adult conversation about a very real problem that whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, old or young, you know is out there you believe the actuary, it’s going to go bankrupt – this is the responsible thing.” [Coburn, Burr Press Conference Unveiling the Seniors’ Choice Act, 2/17/12]

 

… while he collected donations from the insurance industry which would profit from it…

 

Burr Has Received $1.1 Million From Insurance Interests. Over the course of his political career, Burr has received a total of $1,129,864 from insurance industry interests. [opensecrets.org, accessed June 1, 2016]

 

… and only now is disavowing his own plan as he realizes North Carolina seniors are calling for a change and for a Senator who puts them first.

 

Burr Has No Explanation For His Reversal. Burr’s spokesperson “did not give a reason the plan won’t go forward.” [Charlotte Observer, 9/7/16]

 

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The North Carolina Democratic Party (NCDP) is the North Carolina affiliate of the Democratic Party. NCDP works to elect Democratic public officials, encourages North Carolinians to become involved in Democratic politics, and fights for equality, opportunity and prosperity for all North Carolinians.