The Gaston County Courthouse was packed Friday morning as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee listened to local testimonies regarding the impact the Affordable Care Act has made on North Carolinians. U.S. Representative Darrell Issa, R-Calif., led the discussion for “Obamacare Implementation: Sticker Shock of Increased Premiums for Health Care Coverage,” along with North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry and Rep. Robert Pittenger.
Staffers for Rep. Issa had selected the witnesses prior to the two-hour hearing. Witnesses included Dan Waters, president of Dan Waters & Associates, a Hickory insurance agency, Joel Long, president of GSM Services, a commercial roofing and HVAC company in Gastonia, Tav Gauss, CEO of Action Group Human Resources Solutions, a staffing firm with multiple offices statewide, Sherry Overby, director of the Belmont Crisis Pregnancy Center and Jason Falls, owner of Falls Insurance in Kings Mountain. The lack of an open forum caused a few public attendees to interrupt at the start of the proceedings, arguing that if their tax dollars were being used to host this meeting, they should be allowed to speak.
During the hearing, Overby stated that the health care act was full of deceptive measures.
“It has never been about health care; it’s about control,” Overby said. “We now have fewer choices than we’ve ever had. It should be called the Unaffordable Health Care Act.”
The new health care law requires nearly everyone to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Supporters of the law state the goal is to provide affordable insurance for more Americans by offering federal premium subsidies for those who qualify.
McHenry stresses that the health care situation is truly a bipartisan issue.
“They aren’t Republican or Democrat increases,” McHenry said. “They’re debts American families are attempting to bear.”
This is the first of a series of hearings that will be held across the country.
Be sure to pick up Monday’s edition of the Lincoln Times-News for more in-depth coverage of the hearing and photos.