Senator Tillis needs to hire some human beings to staff his office

Sen. Thom Tillis

Today’s you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up story from the world of North Carolina policy and politics involves the remarkably offensive actions of a staffer for Sen. Thom Tillis.

As Cullen Browder of WRAL reported yesterday, the staffer in Tillis’s Washington, D.C., office responded to the pleas and complaints of a constituent — a three-time cancer survivor named Bev Veals who was worried about losing her health insurance after her husband was furloughed from his job as a result of the pandemic — by equating the purchase of health insurance to buying a “dress shirt” in a store.

This is from the story:

During Veals’ calls, she came across a Washington, D.C., staffer for Tillis. Frustrated by his lack of empathy, she started recording her calls.

“You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes health care?” she asked.

“Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it,” he replied.

“But health care is something that people need, especially if they have cancer,” Veals said.

“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” he responded.

Sen. Tillis released a statement apologizing for the staff member’s actions and saying he has been the subject of “disciplinary action” — though the nature of that action (running laps around the frat house? no keg parties for a week?) was not disclosed.

Here are some better responses the senator might want to consider:

  1. hiring some staff members who’ve lived in the real world and who possess at least some small measure of basic human empathy; and
  2. announcing that he has rethought his cruel, decade-long opposition to making health insurance accessible to people not as privileged as he and his staff members.

Click here to check out Browder’s story and the recordings of the staffer’s offensive comments.

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