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Shocking Story: Tillis’ Office Tells Cancer Survivor Health Insurance is Like Buying a Dress Shirt


September 8, 2020

Piedmont Rising Responds to Shocking WRAL Story Showing Sen. Tillis’s Office Telling Cancer Survivor that Health Insurance is Like Buying a Dress Shirt

 Tillis Office: “If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it.”

"Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure out,” Tillis’ Office Tells Constituent At Risk of Losing Health Insurance

Raleigh, N.C. - This evening, North Carolina’s WRAL reported on an explosive recording of Senator Thom Tillis’ office telling Bev Veals, a North Carolina resident and three-time cancer survivor, that having health insurance is like buying a dress shirt.

Like millions of Americans, Veals and her husband are at risk of losing their insurance because of pandemic-related job loss. When Veals called Tillis’ office for help, she was told that being able to afford health insurance is “just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it.”

Tillis’ office also told Veals that affording health insurance “"sounds like something you’re going to have to figure out."

Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson made the following statement:

“Not only does Thom Tillis vote against health care access for North Carolinians, but he couldn't even bother to help a three-time cancer survivor in his state when she needed help most. Tillis has spent his entire term in Washington attempting to strip health care away from 600,000 North Carolinians, and he has voted repeatedly to gut protections for the 1.7 million North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions, including many cancer survivors. An insincere apology now doesn’t excuse a career spent trying to put health care out of reach for people who desperately need it. Thom Tillis must be replaced this November.”

Tillis has voted at least seven times to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety. If Tillis had been successful, an estimated 607,000 North Carolinians would lose coverage, an estimate that has increased by 100,000 since the start of the pandemic. More than 1.7 million non-elderly North Carolinians, 28 percent of the state, have a pre-existing condition that would allow insurance companies to deny them coverage if the ACA were repealed. Tillis also opposed expanding Medicaid, which would provide coverage for at least 500,000 North Carolinians.


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