March 9, 2020/Media

Long Before Coronavirus, Tillis Voted to “Cripple” Government’s Ability to Respond to Outbreaks & Undercut Access to Affordable Health Care

Tillis has long record attempting to eliminate key public health programs, blocking Medicaid expansion, and supporting lawsuit to end the ACA

Long before coronavirus arrived in the U.S., Senator Tillis voted to hamper public health officials’ ability to respond to outbreaks and undercut efforts from federal and state governments to ensure North Carolinians have access to affordable health care.

Senator Tillis repeatedly stood silent as President Trump proposed in each of his budgets cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, Tillis voted to eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, even as public health officials raised alarms that doing so would “cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent and respond to health threats including pandemic flu.

His decisions to limit access to affordable health care may also undercut response efforts. “Medicaid is built to deal with broad-scale public health crises” like the coronavirus, according to the Commonwealth Fund, yet when he was Speaker, Senator Tillis made it illegal for the state to expand Medicaid to its most vulnerable residents. Just last year, Senator Tillis bragged “I am the Speaker of the House who signed the bill that made it illegal to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.”

Now, Senator Tillis is supporting a reckless lawsuit that would end the Affordable Care Act and with it access to affordable health care for more than half a million North Carolinians and basic protections like coverage for preexisting conditions.

“Senator Tillis has repeatedly undercut the federal and state government’s ability to respond to public health outbreaks like coronavirus,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis’ agenda has underfunded our public health officials, attempted to eliminate key programs over the objection of experts, and made it harder for some of North Carolina’s most vulnerable citizens to get the care they deserve.”

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