Freshman Tine jumps right into the legislative fray

By on February 22, 2013

tineRep. Paul Tine had an eventful introduction into the North Carolina General Assembly’s lower legislative chamber.

Tine, a Democrat from Dare County, represents the 6th District , which also includes Beaufort, Hyde and Washington County.

Through a summary of his first month provided by his office and a subsequent phone conversation, Tine provided some insight into his legislative debut.

According to his statement, the first instance Tine ever heard a “floor amendment” offered turned out to be one he was giving.

“I jumped in faster than I expected to,” Rep. Tine said. “The first time I heard an amendment offered on the floor, I was giving it. But there was some middle room on these two bills that neither side was looking at that needed a voice in the debate.”

The bill he was attempting to amend, House Bill 4, dealt with changes to the way North Carolina’s unemployment insurance will assess employers and pay recipients in the face of a $2 billion debt owed to the Federal government for extended benefits paid out by the state since the 2007 recession.

Tine’s amendment was not the only one offered by Democrats to H.R. 4, which was drafted by the Republican majority, but it was cited by Raleigh media and opponents of the GOP bill as the most balanced of all amendments offered.

Tine’s amendment went down to defeat along party lines, but it didn’t take long for Tine to get back in fray again when Senate Bill 4 worked its way to the state House of Representatives.

S.B. 4 was a Republican drafted bill, “No NC Exchange/No Medicaid Expansion.” It represented the Republican majority’s desire to reverse decisions by former Democratic Gov. Bev Purdue and the Democrat-controlled legislature to have North Carolina operate its own “insurance exchanges” under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The act, widely referred to as “Obamacare,” gave states a chance to run their own exchanges or allow the federal government to run an exchange for them. It also allows the state to expand Medicaid coverage to up to 500,000 additional North Carolinians.

The new GOP plan leaves the running of this state’s exchange to the federal government and opts out of expanding the state Medicaid rolls.

According to Tine’s summary, “The Affordable Care Act and the Fiscal Cliff legislation changed the way hospitals are reimbursed for treating individuals without insurance, or the means to pay for their treatment, resulting in a $7.8 billion reduction in payments to hospitals in North Carolina over the next 10 years. The expectation was that the loss would be made up with more individuals covered and less write offs with the expansion of Medicaid.”

Tine’s concerned about the impact of these cutbacks and others imposed by “Fiscal Cliff” legislation on North Carolina’s rural hospitals, where Medicaid reimbursement represent a significant source of revenue due to a higher proportion of Medicaid patients.

Tine’s statement said his proposed amendment to S.B. 4 “expressed the state’s desire to make up for the losses and established an eight-person commission of House and Senate members to determine how to accomplish this repayment. A report would be due during the short session on how to move forward.”

The statement went on to say, “I am not a big government person, either, but sometimes the Federal Government puts us in a box that has real consequences.

“Our rural hospitals are operating on a razor-thin margin and cannot afford to lose this revenue. If someone comes to the hospital, they have to be treated. The hospitals in this region cannot afford to absorb these losses on their own.”

This amendment, like Tine’s first, was defeated along party lines, but Tine remains optimistic about his chances to reach across the aisle.

““I’m going to keep working. I have had positive responses from rural legislators on the other side and I’m going to keep working with them to try and to get the very best I can out of the policies being brought forward.”

Time will tell whether such bi-partisan cooperation will be forthcoming, but Dare’s new representative certainly wasted no time in getting into the thick of things in Raleigh.

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Comments

ekim

February 25, 2013 9:02 pm

Yo Jon I’m not asking any questions. The bottom line is Obamacare increases everyone’s healthcare costs – whether you are self employed, an employer or an employee. As a self employed person – you pay a “self employment tax” which is Social Security and Medicare – which pays for Obamacare. Granted you don’t pay for someone else’s taxes but you do contribute through social security and medicare

Lets take into consideration the $2.6 billion in unemployment compensation that the state of NC owes the federal govt. It would have been great if Paul introduced a bill that did not require spending more money than we already owe. If we don’t start paying this debt down now, who is going to pay for it? My children? My grand children? That’s my question.

Jon

February 25, 2013 12:42 pm

Not sure I understand your question ekim, unemployment taxes are paid by an employer and not deducted from an employee’s wages.

But anyway, I am self-employed so I don’t pay any unemployment tax on my profits. Nor I am eligible for benefits.

If I incorporated and hired myself and others as employees that would change, but I don’t have any desire to do that, I’m happy as a sole proprietor. Business is way up this year so far and times are good :)

junkman

February 25, 2013 10:28 am

Good to see we have an advocate not only for Eastern NC but for the who state as well. We need better healthcare, better access to healthcare and more real concern for our fellow citizens. Thanks Paul.

ekim

February 24, 2013 12:38 pm

Hey Jon & Marvin how about you take the lead ,By showing us how much you take from your checks each week. There is no FREE LUNCH! Those who don’t have work in the WINTER, Don’t want to work, As for free school lunches I notice the PARENTS have pleanty of ciggs & beer. GO MARVIN!

As for the “Rural” classification of Dare County – the 2010 census ended that. Dare County is no longer classified as “Rural” – How do I know? My company’s federal HUBZONE status was revoked because of the census results and population increase.

Marvin

February 23, 2013 1:19 pm

Being that Dare County is in eastern NC, which is classified as rural, this issue affects us. I think a well funded hospital is an asset to our community. Evidently, you don’t.

I remember when Dr. Wright was the only physician for 5 counties (David Stick wrote a great biography about him), so from my perspective, having a hospital is an incredible improvement.

And besides, you have to start somewhere. Go Paul!

Jon

February 23, 2013 12:07 pm

I would say that Medicaid and unemployment benefits have quite a lot to do with Dare County. We have many kids in school on reduced price and free lunches, that tells me we probably have a lot of families that would have qualified for the Medicaid expansion and thus could be receiving preventative care rather than more expensive emergency care.

Also, Dare County usually has the highest unemployment rate in the state in the wintertime, and many residents rely on annual unemployment benefits. Some of them are business owners who lay themselves off when they close up shop for the season.

So a 35% cut to the maximum weekly unemployment benefit will have a direct effect on the Dare Co. economy. That will hit the “unemployed” business owner harder than the average worker, since they are more likely to be receiving the maximum benefit.

For the record: I didn’t vote for Tine or Obama, and I’ve never been eligible for Medicaid or unemployment benefits.

OBX Resident

February 22, 2013 10:15 pm

What does this have to do with dare county? So impressive. What a flex of muscle. So soon, astononishing considering money he gave to our saviour Obama.

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