Commentary, News

Five things to have on your radar – none of which are #alternativefacts

#1 The fate of Obamacare &  the new HHS Secretary – Tom Price, President Trump’s nominee for Health and Human Service Secretary, faces more questions today from the Senate Finance Committee as he looks to be confirmed. Many are hoping to hear from Price on his interpretation of Trump’s executive order to rollback Obamacare.

If you missed it last week, Senator Thom Tillis pledged in his Facebook town hall meeting that Republicans would have a replacement plan in place before repeal, and not leave 20 million Americans uninsured.

So what’s in the replacement proposal?

Tillis listed two of the most popular provisions in the Affordable Care Act — coverage for pre-existing conditions and the ability for adult children to stay on their parent’s plan until age 26:

#2 Protesting corporate fundraisers – Triangle-area concerned citizens will join Progress NC Action and the NC State AFL-CIO outside a Senate Republican fundraiser on Blount Street this evening to tell legislative leaders to stop raising funds from lobbyists and get to work fixing the state.

“It’s time to get to work repealing HB2 and redrawing their racially gerrymandered district maps, not schmoozing at another fundraiser,”said Gerrick Brenner, executive director of Progress NC Action.

Protest organizers say time is running out to repeal HB2 and avoid a five-year boycott of North Carolina by the NCAA basketball tournament. If not repealed by the time the NCAA releases its five-year schedule this Spring, HB2 could cost Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte millions more in lost revenue.

#3 Top Education Issues of 2017 – Wednesday’s 2017 Eggs & Issues Breakfast will include the release of the Public School Forum’s Top 10 Education Issues and a special taping of the Public School Forum’s weekly TV show “Education Matters” hosted by Keith Poston featuring a one-on-one interview with Governor Roy Cooper.

The program begins at 8:00 a.m. at Marbles Kids Museum, 201 East Hargett Street, Raleigh, NC.

For those who can’t make the Forum’s breakfast, Poston joins NC Policy Watch this weekend to discuss the state’s most pressing education issues with Chris Fitzsimon.

#4 General Assembly returns to Raleigh – House and Senate members return to Raleigh Wednesday for the so-called “long” session. Members will focus on passing a two-year budget and tax reform. Governor Roy Cooper and legislative Democrats will be making the case for repealing the anti-LGBT law known as HB2.

What’s on tap for the environment this session?

Be sure to listen to our radio interview with reporter Lisa Sorg, who covers everything from coal ash, to renewable energy to the new Secretary for the Department of Environmental Quality:

#5 Medicaid expansion case back in court – Finally, a federal judge in New Bern will hear arguments Friday surrounding Governor Roy Cooper’s efforts to expand the state’s Medicaid program.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger won a temporary restraining order last week blocking expansion. Moore and Berger will be seeking a more permanent solution this week. The Cooper administration says expansion could benefit more than 500,000 North Carolinians.

The case is being heard in the U.S. Eastern District  of North Carolina, 413 Middle Street, New Bern at 8:00 a.m. Policy Watch’s Courts and Law reporter Melissa Boughton will provide coverage of Friday’s hearing.

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