Biden and Harris Champion Health Care in North Carolina Swing


President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will advocate their health-care proposal on Tuesday in North Carolina, a battleground state that Democrats hope to turn around after losing to Donald Trump in the previous two presidential elections.

Fourteen years after President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the White House continues to view health care as a winning issue in a campaign in which Biden has occasionally found himself on the defense when it comes to immigration or the economy. Republicans have fought Biden’s key efforts to reduce medical expenses, and they have grabbed opportunities to limit abortion rights since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade.

“That’s the split screen on health care that you’ll see clearly,” said Anita Dunn, a senior adviser. “President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Democrats want to increase access, make health care more affordable for all, and protect reproductive rights. Republicans want to eviscerate health care, raise rates, and further undermine basic reproductive liberties.”

North Carolina is Biden’s penultimate destination on his tour of battleground states following his State of the Union address earlier this month, which sparked a frenzy of travel as the Democratic president makes his case for a second term in a potential rematch with the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

The president also sees the state as a success tale in health care. The American Rescue Plan, a pandemic recovery bill approved by Biden, featured financial incentives for states to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income people. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, was able to utilize the $1.8 billion to persuade Republican lawmakers to support his plan. Over 600,000 residents are projected to qualify.

Biden and Harris’ visit occurs on the same day that the United States Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a dispute involving access to mifepristone, a commonly used abortion medication. An eventual decision could further limit access to abortion.

The White House has attempted to make mifepristone more widely available as one of the few ways to protect women’s ability to end their pregnancies.

“We will continue to fight back against unprecedented attacks on women’s freedom to make their own health decisions,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stated.

After discussing health care in Raleigh, Biden and Harris will attend a campaign fundraiser in the city. They have a substantial cash edge against Trump, with $155 million on hand at the end of the first quarter of the year. Trump owned $37 million.

Biden’s approval ratings on health care are among his strongest on a variety of issues, but he remains down there as well. According to a February study by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 42% of American adults approve of Biden’s handling of health care, while 55% disapprove.

KFF, a health policy research firm, conducted its study in November and discovered that 59% of U.S. people believe the Democratic Party will do a better job addressing healthcare affordability issues. Only 39% said the same about Republicans. Trust was also divided over access to mental health care, prescription drug pricing, and the future of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“I’m a person who believes that good policy is also good politics, that when people feel like policies are in place that are helping and benefiting them in their communities, then you now have loyal supporters,” said Wes Moore, the governor of Maryland, who is a Democrat

Moore expressed sympathy for those who did not believe Biden had made a substantial influence on topics such as healthcare, but he emphasized the administration’s performance on initiatives such as prescription medication price cuts and insulin price caps.

“Nothing happens by accident, it’s because you have leaders who are prioritizing it,” he went on to say.

Trump has never outlined his healthcare policies while campaigning since 2016 on the vow to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

“The expense of Obamacare is out of control, and it does not provide good healthcare. In a November post on his Truth Social site, he stated, “I’m seriously considering alternatives.”

However, healthcare has not been a major issue in Trump’s 2024 campaign, as he has focused on immigration, inflation, and wars in Europe and the Middle East.

Polls predict a close fight between Biden and Trump this year, and Democrats hope to open up another road to victory in North Carolina.

Although Democrats have neither won a US Senate seat or a presidential contest in North Carolina since 2008, Trump defeated Biden by 1.3 percentage points in 2020. The White House has regularly emphasized federal funding for transportation, rural broadband, and other measures while sending key administration officials to the state.

Democrats also hope to capitalize on Republican candidates’ perceived shortcomings for statewide offices. For example, Mark Robinson and Michele Morrow, the party’s contenders for governor and state superintendent, have a history of making incendiary remarks.

“We’re seeing a Republican slate at the statewide level that is filled with MAGA extremists that are ultimately going to hurt the Republicans’ chances of winning the state again,” state Sen. Jay Chaudhuri of Raleigh, the chamber’s Democratic whip, said in an interview Monday. “As we get closer to November, I think independents that are critical in winning the state will be able to see how extreme the Republican ticket is from top to bottom.”

Democrats believe that unaffiliated voters, the state’s largest demographic, will turn against Trump, in part because they are concerned that his victory, along with Robinson and Morrow’s, will make businesses reconsider migrating to a state that is currently seeing economic growth.

“It’s clear that Republicans have nominated a slew of candidates who want to throw us right back into the culture wars,” Cooper, the Democratic governor, stated last week. “And Donald Trump is right on top of that, driving the train on this.”

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