Working Families Urge Sen. Burr to Protect Healthcare Law
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – On Wednesday afternoon, one day after the Affordable Care Act’s final enrollment deadline had passed, a coalition of working people and activists gathered at U.S. Sen. Richard Burr’s district office with dozens of messages from their neighbors, urging the senator to oppose any efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act or privatize important parts of the social safety net.
The event, led by members of the AFL-CIO community affiliate Working America, brought together a coalition of community advocates and local working families to deliver more than 100 handwritten letters to Sen. Burr from residents across the state, asking him to vote against upcoming legislation to dismantle the federal healthcare law and oppose any future plans to undermine programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“Our members knocked on doors and made thousands of phone calls to help pass the Affordable Care Act, and they consistently rank it among their top concerns,” said Working America North Carolina State Director Carolyn Smith. “Preserving access to quality, affordable healthcare for everyone is an important value for working families in North Carolina, and we expect Sen. Burr to represent the interests of his constituents as this fight continues.”
Since it was passed and signed into law in 2010, the Patient Accountability and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded access to health insurance coverage for more than 20 million Americans, including over 545,000 North Carolinians who have gained access to health insurance through the federal marketplace. Activists gathered at the office delivered the letters to Sen. Burr’s staff and shared their opposition to rumored plans by congressional leaders to repeal the healthcare law before approving legislation to replace it, potentially disrupting the healthcare market and causing millions of working Americans to lose coverage.
“It’s fine for Congress to change the Affordable Care Act to make it better, but right now that plan doesn’t exist,” said Working America North Carolina member Mike Cary. “You can’t take insurance away from people only to leave them in the lurch. It’s just not right.”
Following the delivery, workers’ rights proponents and community leaders in attendance vowed to continue advocating for increased access to healthcare coverage for all, including supporting Gov. Roy Cooper’s plan to expand the state’s Medicaid program and extend health insurance to more than 300,000 low-income North Carolinians.
“Standing with many in our congregation and with our neighbors, we act today on the conviction that access to quality, affordable medical care is an essential, God-given human right,” said Craig Schaub, minister at Winston-Salem’s Parkway United Church of Christ, one of the co-sponsors of the letter-delivery event. Local advocacy group Women of Action also partnered to host the event.
Since 2003, Working America has mobilized working people who don’t have the benefit of a union at work to fight for good jobs and a fair economy. As the 3-million-member community affiliate of the AFL-CIO, including nearly 46,000 members in North Carolina, we unite working people in urban and suburban communities around a shared economic agenda.
Working America engaged millions of Americans in the campaign to pass the ACA, and since then has taken action to expand Medicaid in states where some politicians refuse to help their constituents most in need. Our efforts included winning Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania, benefiting 500,000 low-wage workers in the state.
CONTACT: Carolyn Smith