NC Gov plans veto of expanded health coverage
By Pete Kaliner
August 15, 2019
For more than a month, North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper and his allies have attacked Republicans in the legislature as heartless, petty, ignorant, evil, or bigoted for not including Medicaid expansion in the budget.
Gov. Cooper vetoed the entire $24 billion budget unless he gets his way.
The General Assembly offered a special session to debate and vote on Medicaid expansion and other ways to increase health care and coverage.
The Governor refused that offer when he vetoed the budget.
So, for the past month and a half, Cooper's comms teams have been spamming media with demands to produce a counteroffer. Ostensibly, with an expansion of Medicaid included.
Republicans offered to meet and to debate the merits of expansion. The Governor "ghosted" them - dodging any in-person meeting. Rumors swirled in Raleigh that Gov. Cooper was threatening any Democrat with a primary challenge if they voted to override his veto.
To hear Cooper's apologists and sycophants describe it - this is ONLY about getting people health coverage. It's crappy Medicaid coverage. But coverage, nonetheless.
So, if the goal is to get people health insurance coverage, you'd think Cooper would sign the proposed bill that allows businesses to pool their employees together into association health plans.
You'd be wrong.
Small-business groups worried that Gov. Roy Cooper will soon veto legislation allowing them to band together to buy cheaper health insurance are firing up an advertising campaign to persuade him not to.
Officially, Cooper hasn't laid out a position on Senate Bill 86, which was a top priority this session for the North Carolina Chamber, retailers and real estate agents across the state. But word of a veto has come more quietly to some of the people that pushed this bill the hardest.
“What we’ve heard directly from his people is that, at this time, he’s planing to veto this legislation," said Mark Zimmerman, senior vice president of external affairs for the North Carolina Realtors.
Others familiar with Cooper's thinking said the governor would like to see the measure become part of a broader conversation on health care, lumped in with Medicaid expansion.
A "broader conversation?"
Recall, the Republicans offered a special session to discuss expansion of Medicaid and other ways to increase coverage and care. Cooper rejected that and has held the budget for ransom for more than a month without an exit strategy.
It seems like this would be something beat reporters with deep sources could get confirmed fairly quickly:
Brent Woodcox, Special Counsel to Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, tweeted: "If this is true, the Governor is acting like a tinpot dictator at this point." He added, "If the Governor vetoes this bill, it will prove Roy Cooper doesn’t care about expanding health care access to more people. He only cares about expanding government and its power."
It's been pretty clear for quite some time that Gov. Cooper does not operate in good faith. His behavior on the budget is simply the latest example. The only reason NC doesn't have a budget right now is because Cooper and his team made a political calculation - that leveraging the entire state budget would be a winning issue for his 2020 re-election.
Meanwhile, Democrats have begun complaining about how they cannot take vacations or leave Raleigh, for fear the Republican Speaker of the House will call for a vote on the veto override and there won't be enough Democrats present to stop it. They're crying for our pity for their own political power play. Think about the galactic amount of narcissism it requires for a lawmaker to block employee raises, infrastructure projects, and all sorts of other spending - and then complain that he can't take a vacation because the opposing party refuses to cave to his demands.
Pete's Prep: Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019
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