03.28.14

Legislative Update from Senator Richard Burr

This past Sunday marked the four year anniversary of Obamacare becoming law, a day marked by broken promises, numerous delays, and special exemptions. Just this Tuesday, the President offered the 30th delay to his signature legislative accomplishment.

Before and after Obamacare was enacted, the President promised that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." This statement was repeated by the President's allies in Congress, defended by his allies in the media, and for which he was awarded "Lie of the Year" by Politifact in 2013. Unfortunately, The President's health care law has left millions of Americans with cancelled health plans - at least 4.7 million according to the Associated Press.

President Obama also promised affordable health care, claiming that Obamacare would bring down premiums for families by $2,500. Instead, Americans have watched their premiums increase by an average of 41% in the individual market with reports of more double digit increases on the way.

Senate Democrats clearly see Obamacare as a problem for them, and have already begun holding hearings about follow-on healthcare reforms. Rather than absorbing the lessons of the last four years, Senate Democrats appear eager to double down on the Obamacare experiment by getting the government even more involved in healthcare. The American people have a vested interest in the direction our nation's health care system is headed, and reform legislation must be focused on empowering them and their doctors—not the government. To read my blog post on Obamacare's fourth anniversary, click here.

Monday, both Senate leaders signed on as co-sponsors to the ABLE Act, giving new hope to the severely disabled and their families across America. ABLE is a commonsense piece of legislation that would allow parents of the severely disabled to use a 529 college savings account to save for 'disability expenses' - such as housing, education and medical expenses.

New data from the CDC yesterday reaffirms why we need to pass the ABLE Act. The CDC study identified 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) as having an autism spectrum disorder, with North Carolina as one of the states with the highest prevalence. The prevalence of autism is substantially worse than we ever thought. Children and adults with autism face enormous daily challenges, and it is important that we do what we can to support these individuals and their families as they deal with the day-to-day struggles presented by autism spectrum disorders. This is why Senator Casey and I introduced the ABLE Act, to help give these families peace of mind in knowing that they can better save for their loved ones. Read more about the ABLE Act here and here.

Last evening the Senate passed a piece of legislation I introduced called "The Military and Veterans Caregiver Resolution," which would designate the month of April as "Military and Veterans Caregiver Month." When our brave men and women go into combat, many come back with both visible and invisible wounds from their service and require extensive care. The primary caregivers of these men and woman make tremendous personal sacrifices of their own, saving the United States millions of dollars in health care. This resolution is just one small gesture to honor those caregivers and thank them for their time and sacrifice.

I also introduced this week a resolution to designate April 5, 2014 as "Gold Star Wives Day." This day provides an opportunity to honor the members of Gold Star Wives of America. Out of love and duty to their country, members of Gold Star Wives have taken on responsibilities that consume significant amounts of time and energy. Members of Gold Star Wives are both women and men who have lost someone extremely important to them in service to our country, yet they still have compassion to serve others. Our nation owes these individuals and families a huge debt of gratitude, and by designating April 5 as "Gold Star Wives Day," we can offer a small token of appreciation for their patriotism, service, and sacrifice." Read more here.

In case you missed it, Shawn Flynn interviewed me on Capital Tonight, which aired on Monday. You can catch the full segment here.

Finally, tomorrow is a day to honor our Vietnam veterans. While we cannot right the wrong done to the men and women returning from Vietnam, tomorrow we have an opportunity to recognize their service and thank them for entering harm's way. While we remember the sacrifices these veterans made to preserve our freedom, we also honor the ultimate sacrifice made by their fallen comrades. Thank you to all of those who served in Vietnam, and belated welcome home.