May 13, 2020/Press

Does Tillis Agree with McConnell that There’s No “Urgency” to Act As New Reports Show Millions Without Health Insurance and a Looming “Long, Painful” Downturn?

Mitch McConnell said this week that Senate Republicans have not yet “felt the urgency of acting immediately” on additional relief, but two new reports hammer home how families across the country and North Carolina are feeling the urgency, especially if Senator Tillis and Mitch McConnell continue to block additional federal aid.

Kaiser Family Foundation today estimated that nearly 27 million Americans are now without health insurance after a job loss. Senator Tillis has refused to call for a special enrollment period for North Carolinians out of work, and continues to support a dangerous Republican lawsuit to “terminate health care.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve today warned of a “long, painful downturn” if Congress does not provide more economic relief, something Senator Tillis and Mitch McConnell have continued to rule out.

State leaders are raising alarms too. Governor Cooper yesterday warned that without additional federal aid, North Carolina is “going to have to make significant cuts in core services” such as law enforcement, education, and transportation. Speaker Tim Moore previously warned that North Carolina is facing a $4 billion budget shortfall because of the coronavirus.

Senator Tillis continues to champion the administration’s failed response, saying that the administration’s policies “will benefit the president and they’ll benefit me” while his caucus admits that there is “no daylight” between themselves and the president and that they are working “hand in glove” together on the bungled pandemic response.

“Senator Tillis is standing in lockstep with Mitch McConnell and the president, ruling out more help for North Carolina families to help them access health care and stave off harmful cuts to essential services,” NCDP spokesperson Robert Howard said. “Even as millions have lost their health care and our country’s top economist calls for more relief, Senator Tillis is too weak to stand up to Mitch McConnell and President Trump.”


Axios: Coronavirus likely forced 27 million off their health insurance
By Bob Herman
May 13, 2020

Key Points:

  • Roughly 27 million people have likely have lost job-based health coverage since the coronavirus shocked the economy, according to new estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • Why it matters: Most of these people will be able sign up for other sources of coverage, but millions are still doomed to be uninsured in the midst of a pandemic.
  • By the numbers: For the 27 million people who are losing their job-based coverage, about 80% have other options, said Rachel Garfield, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation and lead author of the report.
  • The remaining 20% are pretty much out of luck because they live in a state that didn’t expand Medicaid or are ineligible for other kinds of subsidized coverage.
  • The bottom line: The coronavirus is blowing up health insurance at a time when people need it most. 

Washington Post: Fed Chair Powell warns of long, painful downturn if Congress does not provide more economic relief
By Heather Long
May 13, 2020

Key Points:

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a dire warning Wednesday that the U.S. economy could become stuck in a painful multi-year recession if Congress and the White House do not approve more aid to address the coronavirus pandemic’s economic fallout.
  • “Additional fiscal support could be costly, but worth it if it helps avoid long-term economic damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery,” Powell said in a videoconference with the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  • Powell said that the United States is in the midst of the “biggest shock our economy has felt in modern times” and is likely to face an “extended period” of weakness. Stocks slid as he spoke with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 300 points on the gloomy outlook from one of the world’s top economic policymakers.
  • The Fed chair urged Congress to remember that the longer people remain out of work, the deeper the scarring becomes on the U.S. economy. There is a domino effect where consumers lose jobs and sharply cut spending, and that can cause more businesses to close, hurting more jobs. Companies that go out of business also stop paying their suppliers, which can drag down other firms.
  • “The record shows that deeper and longer recessions can leave behind lasting damage to the productive capacity of the economy,” Powell said. “Avoidable household and business insolvencies can weigh on growth for years to come.”
  • The unemployment rate has surged to nearly 15 percent, the highest since the Great Depression, and more than 27 million Americans are out of work. A growing number of companies are going bankrupt or closing permanently.
  • But Powell said more was needed because the economic impact has been so severe.
  • He said low-income Americans are facing the brunt of this economic crisis and they have the least ability to handle it. Almost 40 percent of U.S. households making less than $40,000 a year lost a job in March, citing results from a Fed survey coming out later this week.
  • Powell has emphasized the Fed cannot do direct aid to the many Americans and small business owners who are struggling. That is the role of Congress.