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Jobless Claims in NC Top 1.3 Million, Yet Sens. Tillis and Burr Are Actively Undermining North Care

Jobless Claims in NC Top 1.3 Million, Yet Senators Tillis and Burr Are Actively Undermining North Carolinians’ Access to Health Care


Raleigh, N.C. — Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor reported that the number of North Carolinians filing for unemployment insurance has surpassed 1.3 million:


“As too many North Carolinians find themselves without work, they may also find themselves without access to affordable health care. Not only did Senators Tillis and Burr vote against an extra $600 in unemployment benefits, but they’ve also voted to put health care access out of reach for too many, including by refusing to push for an open enrollment period for uninsured North Carolinians during this pandemic. It’s time for Tillis and Burr to make sure their constituents have access to health care and drop their attacks on the Affordable Care Act that is serving as a lifeline during this crisis.”


Background

More than 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, meaning millions will be left without health insurance.

After more than 1.3 million jobless claims in North Carolina, thousands of store closures and an unprecedented contraction in economic activity, the coronavirus crisis has left North Carolina’s economy weakened and idling.


North Carolina’s unemployment office has seen a 5,000 percent surge in claims since the start of the pandemic. As of May 18, the state has paid out approximately $2 billion, which accounts for unemployment claims filed by more than 500,000 unemployed workers. However, nearly 900,000 claims have been filed, which signals a filing surge that exceeds 5,000 percent.


Without the ACA, North Carolina would have entered this pandemic with 500,000 fewer residents insured, and thus 500,000 more who would have weighed seeking treatment for coronavirus-like symptoms against their ability to pay for it.


Tillis’ history of restricting unemployment benefits, blocking Medicaid expansion, attempting to eliminate key public health programs, and limit access to affordable health care dates back to his time as the Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives when he fought to reduce eligibility and “touted the benefit reductions.” 


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About Piedmont Rising

Piedmont Rising is a 501 (c)4 issue advocacy organization built by and for North Carolinians to advocate for lower insurance premiums and prescription drug costs and to ensure that more people have access to safe and affordable health care. Through grassroots organizing, education, and engagement, we are amplifying our health care stories and holding our elected officials accountable to the people, and issues they were elected to represent. www.piedmontrising.org

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