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Tillis Questions Programs that Created Medicare, Social Security, Pre-Existing Condition Protections

Tillis Touches 3rd Rail By Questioning Programs that Created Medicare, Social Security & Pre-Existing Condition Protections

In Radio Interview, Tillis Says “Bad Things Happened” & “A Lot of Bad Occurred, A Lot of Things That We’re Still Dealing With” When Obamacare, the New Deal & the Great Society Were Enacted

Raleigh, N.C. -- In an interview with a conservative radio station this morning, Senator Thom Tillis said that “bad things happened” when a series of federal government programs over the last 80 years created Social Security, Medicare and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. “A lot of bad occurred; a lot of things that we’re still dealing with.”

Tillis -- who blocked Medicaid expansion as North Carolina House Speaker and, in the U.S Senate, has repeatedly voted to increase health care premiums, out-of-pocket costs and prescription drugs costs -- appeared on “Local Biz Now” and described why he supports keeping the filibuster (around 12:00):

“There’s only been three times when Democrats had a supermajority, and arguably bad things happened: it was Obamacare, it was New Deal, and it was the Great Society. It’s not necessarily that good didn’t occur as a result of that, but a lot of bad occurred, a lot of things that we’re still dealing with.”

Of course, the Social Security program that millions of North Carolina seniors depend on was created by the New Deal; the Great Society produced Medicare, a critical program for North Carolinians; and Obamacare stopped insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

Piedmont Rising Executive Director Casey Wilkinson released the following statement in response:

“If Senator Tillis had his way, widely popular programs that provide health care and financial security to millions of North Carolinians would be gone. It’s stunning to hear him describe the creation of Social Security, Medicare, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions as ‘bad’ and ‘things that we’re still dealing with.’ Thankfully, these programs still do exist, and we need Senator Tillis to stop trying to put access to health care out of reach for so many North Carolinians.”


During the radio interview, Tillis said that “there have only been three times when the Democrats have had a supermajority and arguably bad things happened. And it was Obamacare, it was the New Deal and it was the Great Society.”

Tillis on the Protect Act: 

“The reason that I filed the Protect Act was to make sure - and, it's virtually the wording in Obamacare - but if the courts ultimately set aside Obamacare, I want to make sure that we have [pre-existing conditions protections] in place.

The Truth:

WRAL: The Protect Act “claims to protect people with pre-existing conditions. But experts say that bill falls short.” The bill “doesn’t prevent insurance companies from price gouging,” “doesn’t prohibit insurers from charging women more than men,” and is “riddled with loopholes that would continue to permit discriminatory rating practices.” Ultimately, the Protect Act “fall[s] short of matching the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

WRAL: Did Thom Tillis vote to ‘takeaway’ coverage for pre-existing conditions? Mostly True.

Tillis on Pre-existing Conditions Protections:

According to Tillis, people say “Republicans want to deny people with pre-existing conditions insurance. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

The Truth:

Tillis has voted at least seven times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. If any of those votes had been successful, the 1.7 million North Carolinians with a pre-existing condition that was declinable before the protections within the ACA were implemented would have been at risk of losing their health insurance.

Each of Tillis’ votes to repeal the ACA occurred before he introduced the bill that he claims protects people with pre-existing conditions. Tillis knowingly cast these votes while there was nothing to protect these North Carolinians and their families.

Tillis on Medicare:

According to Tillis, “a lot of bad occurred” as a result of legislation brought about by the Great Society efforts.

The Truth:

Medicare was one of the major accomplishments of Great Society legislation. Before Medicare was signed into law in 1965, half of all Americans over the age of 65 were uninsured. One out of every four seniors received no medical care whatsoever. Due to access to consistent, preventive care, 98 percent of older Americans have health insurance and the life expectancy for an older American has increased by five years. The rate of seniors living in poverty is a fraction of what it once was. In North Carolina, over 1.9 million people, most retirees and people with disabilities are Medicare beneficiaries.

Tillis has voted six times for budget resolutions that sought to cut Medicare spending by at least $430 billion over the course of ten years.


Jessica Coscia


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.

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