N.C. Sen. Bill Purcell Monday applauded a gubernatorial veto of a state Republican effort to repeal the federal health care reform package, but the GOP promises to fight it.
A House vote to override the veto is scheduled today, and Republicans issued a Monday call to action for citizens to contact their representatives, equating the veto to taking the side of Obama, Pelosi and Reid over the people of North Carolina.
Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed House Bill 2, the Protect Health Care Freedom Act, earlier this month. It challenges the constitutionality of a provision requiring individuals to purchase private health insurance in the federal law, and directs the Attorney General to join a class-action lawsuit in the federal courts arguing against the provision.
She called the measure “superfluous,” and said it would equal an unnecessary burden on the state since 27 other states are already engaged in the lawsuit, and its outcome would affect the state anyway. She also said it unconstitutional for states to pass laws that don’t obey federal law.
“And third and most importantly, the attorney general and solicitor general have talked to me and the leadership of the General Assembly and explained clearly that there are some unintended consequences of House Bill 2 that dramatically affect our medicaid program, potentially hurting the children’s’ health insurance program, attacking our process of requiring uninsured motorists to have insurance, attacking college students for having insurance,” Perdue said. “And finally, the whole issue of unintended consequences — today none of us know what this will mean in two weeks, two months or two years.”
Purcell said one unintended consequence of moving to repeal the federal provision would mean less North Carolinians purchasing health insurance, thus more patients being treated in relatively expensive emergency rooms and driving up the cost of health care for everyone.
“I applaud the Governor’s veto, because North Carolina needs to focus on creating jobs, not on reviving partisan fights from Congress,” Purcell, who serves on the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, said in an e-mail. “Passing this bill will lead to more expensive health insurance in North Carolina and fewer middle class families being able to afford insurance coverage at all.”
Wednesday, Republicans plan to hold a veto override vote in the House of Representatives, and they singled out seven Democratic representatives to target with correspondence asking they vote to override the veto. Richmond County’s N.C. Rep. Ken Goodman was not among these names.
“In 2010, North Carolina Republicans promised to reduce the size of government and to protect North Carolina families and businesses from the job-crushing Obamacare legislation,” N.C. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes said in a release. “Republicans in the General Assembly passed House Bill 2 that will exclude North Carolina families and businesses from certain provisions in the Obamacare legislation and directs Attorney General Roy Cooper to contest the constitutionality of Obamacare in the United States Supreme Court. After a Washington D.C. visit with President Obama and other liberal allies, Governor Perdue chose to veto House Bill 2 to improve her standing with her liberal base for her re-election in 2012.”
A vote in the House is expected today. There are enough Republican votes in the Senate to override a veto, but Democrat votes would be needed to override it in the House.
Instead of engaging in political games about ‘repealing’ federal laws, the Governor’s eyes are firmly focused on a better future for North Carolinians,” the statement read. “The Governor’s vision is of a North Carolina where insurance companies can no longer deny people health coverage because of pre-existing health conditions, where tax credits and a newly competitive market make insurance affordable and cost less, and where small businesses can finally get the same deals on health coverage plans that large companies enjoy.”
Staff Writer Philip D. Brown can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.