Ellmers declares ObamaCare a “War on Women”

Eastern North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) used her appearance presenting the Weekly GOP Address this Saturday to up the ante of criticism of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act.

Congresswoman Ellmers, whose opposition to “ObamaCare” facilitated her victory in 2010 over previous incumbent Bob Etheridge, spoke directly on the impact of the legislation on existing health insurance for North Carolina residents, including women.

Like many of you, I’m frustrated with the president’s health care law, especially where jobs and working families are concerned.   I say this not only as a congresswoman and chair of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee; I say it as a nurse and the mother of a son in college.

After all, it’s often women who make the healthcare decisions for our families.  We put a lot of time and thought into these choices and how they’ll affect our budgets

So by canceling your insurance – despite a promise to let you keep your plan – the Obama administration is essentially saying it knows what’s best for you and your family.   Not only that, they are making you pay more – usually much more – and in many cases, taking away the doctor you’ve been seeing for years.

If you want to talk about a ‘war on women,’ look no further than this health care law.

Congresswoman Ellmers presented specific cases from constituents to prove her point.

Marian from Pittsboro told me that she and her husband received cancellation notices and that the replacement would double their premiums.  When she called to ask for help, the insurance company told Marian that if she doesn’t sign up for a new plan, the law requires that they enroll her in the “suggested policy.”   This increase, she says, will consume their gas and grocery money for the month.  She now sees no choice but to cancel their insurance altogether.

Kent and Ulli from Cary are in their mid-50s and they report that their premiums are about to jump from $248 to $968 per month.  That is nearly four times higher.  Ken and Ulli have always preferred a high deductible policy because, they work hard to stay in good health and when they do need care, they like to shop for the best value. But as we have seen, this administration thinks it knows better than they do.

And then there’s Liz from Sanford.  She’s a small business owner with only two employees: herself and her husband.  Their premiums went up 127 percent on account of the new law. Liz told me that she and her husband are regular, hardworking, healthy Americans. She said “we are not wealthy.  I really don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Seeing so many hardworking people have to spend the holiday season wondering ‘what’s next?’ – it’s heartbreaking.  And it’s wrong.

Watch Congresswoman Ellmer’s remarks below.

Obamacare Exchange cuts NC Insurance Options

While four years of rhetoric by supporters of the Affordable Care Act stated that the program would broaden choices for citizens and enable those with health insurance to keep their existing plans, the upcoming reality for many in North Carolina may be just the opposite.

On October 1st, the Federal Government will open their managed health exchanges in states across the country, including North Carolina. When it happens, residents in the Tar Heel State will learn that only two health insurance companies will be participating in the program.

For residents of 61 North Carolina counties, the situation will be even more dire, as only one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, will be providing coverage.

“We are now four days away from Obamacare’s implementation and each moment, we are receiving new reports as to how devastating this law will be for the men and women of North Carolina,” said NC Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) in a statement released Thursday. “Yesterday, we discovered that health insurance rates are expected to triple for women and quadruple for men in North Carolina once this law goes into effect. Today, we were informed that virtual monopolies are now being created to sell this poison pill to our people.”

Earlier this week, an article at Forbes detailed research findings from the Manhattan Institute showing that health care premiums for 27-year-old individuals in North Carolina will increase an average of 151% for women and 267% for men. These are among the most significant increases to be experienced as a result of the setup of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

ACA Insurance Impact

“We were promised lower costs and more competition. Yet Obamacare is doing the exact opposite,” Congresswoman Ellmers said. “The whole point of an online marketplace was to provide options, so North Carolinians could go online, compare prices, and choose plans from different companies. That is how competition is supposed to work! Although seven insurance companies currently operate in North Carolina, under the new Obamacare exchanges, those options will dwindle down to one in the majority of counties.”

Congresswoman Ellmers joined the rest of the State’s Republican Delegation in the House of Representatives to support a bill last week that defunded the Affordable Care Act while providing a continuing resolution for other Federal spending.

The defunding provision will likely be taken out as the Senate considers the bill toward the end of this week, despite efforts by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and a handfull of others to point out the Affordable Care Act’s failures to live up to promised expectations.

Coventry Health Care, which is owned now by Aetna, will provide insurance coverage for residents in 39 counties. Locally, their map indicates coverage will be available to residents in Wake, Franklin, Nash, Edgecombe and Pitt Counties, but not Wilson, Northampton or Martin Counties.

Federal subsidies will be available to individuals making less than $46,000 a year and families of four earning less than $94,000 a year. According to reports, approximately 870,000 residents will be eligible for these subsidies, though levels of assistance will vary based on case-by-case characteristics.

NC’s Washington Delegation Splits on Syria

Prominent members of North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation are expressing opposing views on President Obama’s intention to use military force as a response to the recent deployment of chemical weapons in Syria.

Republican Senator Richard Burr, who also drew criticism from conservatives for opposing efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act, expressed support for military action in a statement issued August 28th.

Senator Richard Burr

Civilized people should be outraged by the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians and the many more who have been maimed in this horrible civil war. The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against civilians is morally repugnant and violates long held standards of conduct.  Short of putting troops on the ground, it is time for the United States and our NATO allies to take necessary, punitive military action against the Syrian regime and send a clear signal to its leadership, and others in the region who may be contemplating using weapons of this nature, that there are consequences for these actions.

Last Tuesday, Republican Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (2nd District) came out in opposition to the use of US military force.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District)

For more than two years we have witnessed the inner turmoil taking place in Syria and the horrendous atrocities executed by the Assad regime. Recently, reports have come out showing that chemical weapons have been used in cowardly attacks that have shocked the world in their brutality. These constitute a threat to our allies in Israel and Jordan and therefore warrant additional debate and preparedness.

But as President Obama and his administration begin to beat the drums of war in an area of the world which has witnessed significant bloodshed and turmoil for decades, we must take caution and ask serious questions regarding our interests and the price to be paid with intervention. We have learned so much from our history of involvement in this part of the world and the fog of war which clouds our judgment between friend and foe, perceived goals and collateral damage.

At this time, I see nothing but hardship, danger, and unprovoked sacrifice on the shoulders of our military, our troops, and their families. For these and many other reasons which have been echoed by my constituents, I cannot support military action against Syria at this time. Our focus must be on rebuilding our economy here at home after struggling for nearly five years under the President Obama’s economy.  Unless further evidence shows a clear threat to our national interests and a clearly defined vision of victory, this will remain my position moving forward.

First District Congressman, Walter Jones, also opposes action in Syria.

Congressman Water Jones (R-1st District)

I will vote against  any  proposal to authorize U.S. military intervention in Syria,” said Congressman Jones.  “The reality of America’s dismal fiscal situation is that any money spent to bomb Syria will be borrowed from overseas or will be taken from the Defense Department’s already-shrinking budget – resulting in even fewer resources for Eastern North Carolina military installations.  Neither of these options is acceptable.”

Furthermore, there are serious questions about the credibility of the Obama administration’s claims regarding the use of sarin gas in Syria.  The president has failed to explain how our national security depends on engaging in yet another Middle Eastern civil war on the side of radical Islamist rebels who have been documented as possessing sarin gas and beheading Christians, among other atrocities.

President Obama has requested Congressional authorization for the use of force in Syria. The President provided a summary of his justification for the request in his September 7th weekly radio address:

President Barack Obama

Almost three weeks ago in Syria, more than 1,000 innocent people – including hundreds of children – were murdered in the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century.  And the United States has presented a powerful case to the world that the Syrian government was responsible for this horrific attack on its own people.

This was not only a direct attack on human dignity; it is a serious threat to our national security.  There’s a reason governments representing 98 percent of the world’s people have agreed to ban the use of chemical weapons.  Not only because they cause death and destruction in the most indiscriminate and inhumane way possible – but because they can also fall into the hands of terrorist groups who wish to do us harm.

That’s why, last weekend, I announced that, as Commander in Chief, I decided that the United States should take military action against the Syrian regime.  This is not a decision I made lightly.  Deciding to use military force is the most solemn decision we can make as a nation.

As the leader of the world’s oldest Constitutional democracy, I also know that our country will be stronger if we act together, and our actions will be more effective.  That’s why I asked Members of Congress to debate this issue and vote on authorizing the use of force.

What we’re talking about is not an open-ended intervention.  This would not be another Iraq or Afghanistan.  There would be no American boots on the ground.  Any action we take would be limited, both in time and scope – designed to deter the Syrian government from gassing its own people again and degrade its ability to do so.

I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down.  That’s why we’re not putting our troops in the middle of somebody else’s war.

But we are the United States of America.  We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria.  Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again; that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons.  All of which would pose a serious threat to our national security.

That’s why we can’t ignore chemical weapons attacks like this one – even if they happen halfway around the world.  And that’s why I call on Members of Congress, from both parties, to come together and stand up for the kind of world we want to live in; the kind of world we want to leave our children and future generations.

One of the President’s strongest supporters in North Carolina, Democrat Congressman G.K. Butterfield (1st District), expressed an open mind on the issue:

Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-1st District)

I’m deeply troubled by the Assad Regime’s use of chemical weapons on innocent civilians in Syria.  As a Member of Congress, authorizing the use of military force is one of our most important responsibilities and it should not be taken lightly.  This situation deserves careful consideration and I look forward to a thorough debate in the Congress

For Republican Congressman George Holding (13th District), further information from the White House on the situation in Syria provides more reason to oppose military action:

Congressman George Holding (13th District)

After classified briefings and hearing directly from Secretaries Kerry and Hagel yesterday in the Foreign Affairs Committee, I am more skeptical than ever about President Obama’s plan to bomb Syria. For Secretary Kerry to say an attack on Syria – which when you get right down to it amounts to an act of war – is a limited strike, and then add we ‘are not fighting to win,’ doesn’t make a bit of sense.

What we heard today from the administration was purely and simply an exercise in minimizing and understating risks – and nothing I heard convinced me it is necessary to send one American soldier into battle.

The President will speak on the situation and his justifications for use of US force in Syria during a televised address on Tuesday evening, September 10th.

Congresswoman Ellmers hosts Job Fair for Vets

This past Tuesday, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (R-2nd District) hosted a job fair attended for military veterans at Fayeteville’s Crown Coliseum.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers (center-right) hosted a job fair for military veterans and active duty personnel in Fayetteville on July 30th.

More than 300 veterans and active duty service personnel attended the event, featuring more than 50 local, regional and national businesses interested in offering employment opportunities.

“We had an impressive number of veterans and current members of the military turn out to meet with local businesses and help with their transition to civilian employment,” Congresswoman Ellmers said in a statement. “I would like to thank all of the businesses who participated in today’s event and look forward to hearing from so many of the participants on how it has helped improve their lives and careers.”

“We all have a duty to help our veterans make this transition and offer our support to the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom.”

Businesses participating in the event included the American Red Cross, Campbell University, Lowe’s, Rick Hendrick Toyota, Employment Security Commission, Harnett Health System, Moen, Inc., Saab Barracuda, LLC, Sunbelt, and the VA Medical Center