03.14.14

Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This week the Senate passed S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, legislation I co-authored with Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD). For years, I, along with some of my colleagues, have been calling for the Senate to return to regular order where legislation is introduced, considered through the committee of jurisdiction, and debated in the United States Senate with a full and robust amendment process. Although taking this legislative route can be time consuming and, admittedly, become frustrating when progress is not instantaneous, the result almost always is a more durable law that has the support of most legislators and, most importantly, the American people. S. 1086 passed by an overwhelming vote of 96-2, validating the importance of legislating in this manner.

This legislation improves the quality of child care in North Carolina by ensuring certain basic health and safety precautions are taken by people who care for kids while their parents are at work. Overall, this week was a good one for the United States Senate, our working parents, and their children.

Within CCDBG, I was also pleased to see the Senate approve the Boxer-Burr amendment, which would close a dangerous loophole in the national background check system for child care providers located on federal property, including military installations. When parents drop their kids off at child care centers on federal property, they deserve the peace of mind to know that the facility has taken basic precautions to ensure the safety of the children in their care. This amendment makes a commonsense fix to update requirements for background checks to stop dangerous individuals from slipping through the cracks and while improving our children's security.

You can read more about CCDBGhereand the press release on its passagehere.

On Tuesday, the subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging held a hearing titled "Access and Cost: What the US Health Care System Can Learn from Other Countries," which included discussion about single payer, government run systems. I think this hearing represents an important admission by the Senate that Obamacare is not working. That such an admission takes place within the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee - the very committee that wrote the Affordable Care Act -- is a huge step, and I commend the committee for taking it.

Health care was broken before Obamacare, but four years later the American people are experiencing firsthand how the new law has made things worse. The President promised that if you liked your plan you could keep it. Under Obamacare, the federal government mandates that Americans buy health coverage, and not just any coverage, but the coverage the Federal government says is good enough. Millions of Americans have lost their health plans-health plans they liked and wanted to keep despite the promises and continued delays of the Administration. Obamacare expanded Medicaid-an unsustainable health entitlement program in which some 40 percent of physicians on average do not even see Medicaid patients. The President promised that Obamacare would bring down premiums by $2,500, premiums have gone up on average 41 percent in the individual market due to Obamacare's mandates.

Is it any wonder why Americans view the law unfavorably? However, some Senate Democrats see Obamacare as a launching pad for setting up a single payer system in the United States. I think Americans at this point are understandably wary of still more government involvement in health care, particularly the degree of government involvement that we see in the single payer systems around the world that are being held up as "models" for a future American system.

If you are interested in the issue of single payer health care, or curious what the consequences of single payer health care might be, I encourage you to watch the full hearinghere. You can also access all of the opening statements of each witnesshere.