Senator Tillis has spent his career attacking the Affordable Care Act, running ads saying he stopped it “cold” and describing it on his website as a “cancer.” Now, according to a new report in the Daily Beast, he’s not only trying to “whitewash” his prior opposition to the health care law, he’s “plagiarizing” the health care law.
In an interview with WLOS in Asheville last weekend, Senator Tillis bragged that a health care bill he wrote “literally” pulls language from the ACA. Tillis’ new tune comes after he “voted on 15 separate occasions” to repeal the entirety of Obamacare or parts of it.
Worse for Tillis, the bill he touts cribbed lines from the ACA continues to get panned by experts, with one saying that Tillis’ law is a “throat-clearing exercise” — as the Daily Beast put it, one “not seriously envisioned as a substantive stand-in for the ACA’s protections.”
No wonder Tillis “did not respond” to questions about it.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Daily Beast: Thom Tillis Wanted to Kill Obamacare. Now He’s Plagiarizing It.
By Sam Brodey
August 2, 2020
- Like many Republicans in office today, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) came to power in the Barack Obama era by running against the president’s signature health-care law.
- Today, those Republicans are confronting a difficult political environment in which their dogged efforts to kill the Affordable Care Act may have, in fact, made it more popular. And many are trying to whitewash their prior opposition.
- Tillis is taking it a bit farther. The North Carolina Republican, who is facing a competitive re-election this fall, is now bragging that a health-care bill he wrote “literally” cribs language from Obamacare.
- But his rush to associate himself with elements of Obamacare speaks to how seismically the politics of the law have changed in recent years, and how concerned Republicans are that Democrats might repeat their successful 2018 midterm strategy in 2020 by constantly telling voters that the GOP is working to undermine their health care. Tillis, after all, not only built his successful run for Senate—and his voting record there—on unequivocal, single-minded resistance to Obamacare; he once called the law a “cancer” on the U.S. economy.
- “Republicans can read polls,” said Tom Miller, a fellow who studies health care at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank.
- “ObamaCare is a cancer on our national economy and it threatens the quality of every American’s health care,” Tillis’ campaign website read in 2014. “ObamaCare is ridden with policies that are bad for families, bad for seniors, bad for businesses, and bad for the economy. Thom will fight in the Senate for full repeal of ObamaCare, for defunding ObamaCare, and he will work to implement private sector solutions to reduce healthcare costs for North Carolinians.”
- After defeating Hagan, Tillis worked to make good on those promises. During his first term in the Senate, he has voted on 15 separate occasions for resolutions to repeal the entirety of Obamacare or parts of it, or on vehicles to set up such votes. In 2017, he supported the GOP’s first real effort to repeal and replace the ACA after Donald Trump became president, voting in favor of all three legislative proposals that would have done away with the law that July.
- During that fight, Tillis warned against accepting Obamacare and building on it—something that his current effort implicitly does. “Trying to fix health care with the Obamacare provisions and the regulatory framework in place—that gives leverage to a failed framework,” said Tillis on a talk radio show in 2017. “There are people, even friends of mine, who say, ‘give up’… We can’t afford to.”
- In that interview, Tillis also vowed to vote for repeal “every time it comes to the floor” and called it “foundational to a promise we made to the American people.”
- Asked by The Daily Beast if the senator’s embrace of planks of Obamacare is consistent with his past stances against using the “underpinnings” and “framework” of the law, a Tillis campaign spokesperson did not respond.
- However, health care experts aligned with institutions around the political spectrum have largely panned the legislation as a “throat-clearing exercise,” as AEI’s Miller put it—a bill not seriously envisioned as a substantive stand-in for the ACA’s protections.