Hours before Joe Biden takes on Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, North Carolina Democrats addressed Trump’s disastrous record on health care as the fate of the Affordable Care Act hangs in the balance.
The nearly 5 million North Carolinians living with a pre-existing condition are prevented from discrimination by insurance companies because of the ACA, while more than 1.8 million seniors in the state save over $1,000 on prescription drugs thanks to the law.
On Sunday, Trump again tweeted about his commitment to eliminating the ACA, even though he still hasn’t announced a plan to replace it.
NCDP Chair Wayne Goodwin, former North Carolina Insurance Commissioner:
“The Affordable Care Act has never, has never been in greater jeopardy than it is right now. And that means, the millions of North Carolinians who depend on coverage for a pre-existing condition, who purchase affordable coverage through the insurance markets, who stay on their parents insurance plans through age 26, all of that, all of that is at stake. And it is at stake amidst a global pandemic nonetheless.
“As our state’s former commissioner of insurance for eight years, and having worked for the department in charge for 12 years, I have a unique perspective on this very issue. I’ve seen firsthand the struggles too many families face due to a lack of access to quality, affordable health care. North Carolina has struggled to insure people for decades. When the Affordable Care Act finally took effect, it was a game changer for our state, and a giant leap forward.
“Now, all of that progress is in danger. And as we prepare to watch tonight’s debate, I want North Carolinians across our state to hold this president accountable for what he is trying to do. If he has his way, millions of lives across our state will be uprooted, families will be thrown in financial jeopardy, and lives truly will be at risk. The stakes could not be higher.”
State Senator Terry Van Duyn, a former ACA navigator:
“There are few states in our country where the issue of affordable health insurance is more critical than North Carolina, and with 35 days to go until the election, the bell to protect the ACA has become a five alarm fire, and the passing of Justice Ruth Bafer Ginsburg has me even more concerned.
“Since he announced his campaign for president, Donald Trump has promised to provide us with a plan for how to address affordable health care. Five years later, nothing. No proposals, no vision. Now that doesn’t mean he’s done nothing. He’s been extremely active in his assaults on the ACA. […]
“Tonight, Trump needs to be held accountable for his actions. As two candidates begin to debate one-on-one, we cannot lose fact of the sight that Trump’s crusade to unravel the ACA is perhaps the single greatest risk of him getting a second term.”
State Representative Carla Cunningham, a longtime health care professional:
“The issue of the Affordable Care Act is very, very personal and it is deeply personal to lots of people in the state of North Carolina. I have seen and worked on this issue from a public policy perspective but also from a human perspective. […] I have seen how many lives can be changed in an instance. […]
I speak with North Carolinians in my district and across the state who have pre-existing conditions, whether their condition is physical or a mental health condition. The ACA…has certainly removed the fear of medical financial bankruptcy for many families in the state of North Carolina. I have seen the fear in the eyes of patients of mine who are terrified at the idea of losing their health care coverage when they need it most.
“We need new leadership in the White House. Too many lives and livelihoods are on the line. We must not risk another four years of this president’s failed leadership and failed response to COVID-19.”