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Thom Tillis Has Worked To Block ACA, Medicaid Expansion That Could Provide Critical Coverage To Millions That Lost Job Due To Coronavirus

The Labor Department announced today that more than 36 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to shut down and lay off workers. And at a time when people need health coverage the most, the pandemic has also left more than 27 million uninsured.

As millions rely on the Affordable Care Act for coverage, Thom Tillis has stood behind the Republican-led lawsuit that could erase the health care law from the books, take away its protections for 1.7 million North Carolinians living with pre-existing conditions, and the option for North Carolina to expand Medicaid. 

That’s not surprising since he’s voted 13 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, called it courageous to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and blocked Medicaid expansion as Speaker of the North Carolina House, which would provide more than 634,000 North Carolinians with health coverage and provide a much needed boost for rural hospitals in the state. From Raleigh to Washington, Thom Tillis’ record proves time and again that he won’t protect North Carolinians’ health care, even during a global pandemic.

Cal Cunningham has called for a Medicaid expansion incentive in the next coronavirus aid package that would allow states like North Carolina to receive a 100 percent federal match regardless of when they expand. 

Associated Press: 36 million have sought US unemployment aid since virus hit

 By Christopher Rugaber – May 14, 2020

  • Nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as the viral outbreak led more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen under certain restrictions.
  • Roughly 36 million people have now filed for jobless aid in the two months since the coronavirus first forced millions of businesses to close their doors and shrink their workforces, the Labor Department said Thursday. An additional 842,000 people applied for aid through a separate federal program set up for the self-employed and gig workers, bringing last week’s total to 3.8 million.
  • All told, the figures point to a job market that remains gripped by its worst crisis in decades and an economy that is sinking into a severe downturn. The results show that the tentative reopening of some businesses in many states has done little to reverse the flow of mass layoffs. Last week’s pace of new applications for aid is four times the record high that prevailed before the coronavirus struck hard in March.
  • The latest jobless claims follow a devastating jobs report last week. The government said the unemployment rate soared to 14.7% in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression, and employers shed a stunning 20.5 million jobs. A decade’s worth of job growth was wiped out in a single month.
  • Most economists have forecast that the official unemployment rate could hit 18% or higher in May before potentially declining by summer.
  • Few analysts expect a quick rebound. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned Wednesday that the virus-induced recession could turn into a prolonged downturn that would erode workers’ skills and employment connections while bankrupting many small businesses.
  • Powell urged Congress and the White House to consider additional spending and tax measures to help small businesses and households avoid bankruptcy.
  • Powell spoke a day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, proposed a $3 trillion aid package that would direct money to state and local governments, households and health-care workers. Trump administration officials have countered that they want to first see how previous federal aid packages affect the economy. And Republican leaders in Congress have expressed skepticism about approving significant more spending right now.

Axios: Coronavirus likely forced 27 million off their health insurance

By Bob Herman – May 13, 2020

  • 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.
  • Roughly half are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
  • Another third are eligible for subsidized health plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.
  • 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.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s latest coronavirus relief bill would fully subsidize the cost of maintaining an employer plan through COBRA — an option that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive for many people. But that’s a long way from becoming law.
  • The bottom line: The coronavirus is blowing up health insurance at a time when people need it most.