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Political notebook: Analysis shows effects of health care bill on congressional districts

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

Political observers got a look last week at how the latest version of a Republican health care bill might affect nationwide health care coverage, but an analysis also released last week by a Washington, D.C., policy group provided a deeper look at the proposal’s effects.

The Center for American Progress, which leans left, on Tuesday released an analysis that showed 1.35 million fewer North Carolinas would have health insurance by 2026 as a result of the Senate health care bill. Overall, an estimated 22 million Americans would lose coverage by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office analysis.

But the Center for American Progress also released estimated losses by congressional district.

The congressional district in North Carolina with the largest number of estimated health care losses would be the 12th, represented by Rep. Alma Adams, a Democrat. Adams’ district is entirely within Mecklenburg County. In her district, 117,900 people are estimated to lose health insurance by 2026 under the Senate plan.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people would also lose health insurance in Rowan County’s congressional districts, too, according to the Center for American Progress’ analysis.

The policy group estimated the 13th Congressional District — represented by Rep. Ted Budd, a Republican — would see a 104,200 increase in the number of uninsured people. That number includes 2,300 adults, 11,300 children and 2,300 disabled people on Medicaid. It also includes 2,100 elderly people on Medicaid and 57,100 people who receive coverage through the individual market.

In the 8th Congressional District — represented by Rep. Richard Hudson, a Republican — health insurance losses by 2026 are estimated to be 95,000 people. That number includes 2,300 adults, 11,600 children and 2,300 children on Medicaid. It also includes 2,300 elderly people on Medicaid and 46,700 people who receive coverage through the individual market.

The total coverage loss numbers estimates for Budd’s and Hudson’s districts under the Senate bill are higher than similar estimates made by the Center for American Progress under the House bill.

After the initial release of the Senate bill, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., released a statement saying he supported it. He has not released a statement since the Congressional Budget Office analysis. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., has not taken a position on the health care bill.

Meanwhile, both of Rowan County’s members of the U.S. House supported the house health care bill and have not released statements about the Senate bill.

Cooper vetoes HB 576

Gov. Roy Cooper on Sunday vetoed a bill that would allow the spraying of leachate and wastewater into the air over a landfill.

Known as House Bill 576, the bill had received support from all of Rowan County legislators, who voted in favor of the proposal. However slim it may have been, a bipartisan count of legislators voted against the proposal.

In a news release, Cooper said the legislature’s bill would mandate a technology winner and limit further advancements that might provide better health and environmental protections.

“Scientists, not the legislature, should decide whether a patented technology can safely dispose of contaminated liquids from landfills,” Cooper said in a news release.

The contents of the bill would specifically “require the Department of Environmental Quality to approve the aerosolization of leachate and wastewater from a line sanitary landfill … in certain circumstances.” It would also “allow the Department to approve aerosolization of leachate from unlined landfills” and not require certain permits for aerosolization that results in a “zero-liquid” discharge” and is not a source of contamination.

In announcing his veto, Cooper also said he had signed the following bills:

• Senate Bill 155, which gives county governments the ability to adopt an ordinance allowing for the sale of malt beverages, wine and mixed beverages at 10 a.m. on Sunday. The measure has been referred to as the “brunch bill.”

• House Bill 98, which creates a new criminal offense for tampering or vandalizing firefighting equipment, ambulances, a rescue squad EMS vehicle and EMS equipment.

• Senate Bill 169, which expands teaching excellence bonuses for certain teachers who would have received a bonus.

• Senate Bill 448, which allows local boards of education to employ people who teach at colleges and universities as an “adjunct instructor” in specific, core academic subjects.

• Senate Bill 578, which requires the N.C. Secretary of State’s office to annual compile information about the number of veteran-owned and service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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