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North Carolina State Senate Leader and Art Pope loyalist, Phil Berger (R), who is considered a serious contender for the 2014 U.S. Senate race was busted for spreading lies about Obamacare:

Months after the U.S. Supreme Court settled the debate about much of the federal health care law, Senate leader Phil Berger is circulating an online petition to “Stop Obamacare in North Carolina.”

The petition appears on the Eden Republican’s campaign website. And its language perpetuates one of the bigger myths about the Affordable Care Act, said Mark Hall, a health policy expert at Wake Forest University’s law school.

“These arguments have been rejected – it is the law of the land,” said Hall.

The petition is tied to the state Senate’s passage of legislation that prevents the expansion of Medicaid and a state-sponsored health insurance exchange, two key provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care law. - Winston-Salem Journal, 2/9/13

Here's what the petition on Berger's website states:

"Please help me stop Obamacare in North Carolina," Berger writes on his campaign website. The note continues:

We already passed a bill in the Senate that protects us from:

    The government turning our health records over to the IRS
    Government-forced insurance
    Billions in new taxes on businesses and the people of North Carolina

The form then invites people to sign a petition that would presumably be presented to opponents of Senate Bill 4. - WRAL, 2/8/13

Ok, now here are the facts:

The premise that the Senate is protecting the state is misleading, policy experts said. Even with the legislation now awaiting House action, the state is subject to most of the federal health care law. If North Carolina doesn’t set up a marketplace for purchasing insurance, called an exchange, the federal government will establish one for the state.

The U.S. Supreme Court case upholding the Affordable Care Act in June 2012 gave states discretion about whether to expand Medicaid coverage to those making 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $31,809 for a family of four. Most other provisions of the health care law are not affected by state action, policy experts said.

As for the claim that the law will require the government to turn over health records to the IRS, Hall said that is simply not true.

The IRS is the agency charged with determining whether individuals get health insurance or pay a penalty, as the law mandates. But the IRS is not going to ask for health records. The agency has told Congress that it expects taxpayers to get a form from their health insurance company certifying coverage and attach it to their federal return.

The final point about taxes is based in the law. The measure raises $525 billion in revenue over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan division, to pay for health care for an estimated 32 million people by 2019. The taxes range from a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for high-income earners to an excise tax on indoor tanning services. Hall said it is safe to assume more than $1 billion likely will hit North Carolina payers on whole. - Charlotte News Observer, 2/8/13

So why is Berger continuing to push these lies about the Affordable Health Care Act?  To help build his support for the crowded GOP primary:
Chris Sinclair, a Republican strategist at Cornerstone Solutions in Raleigh and an expert in digital campaigns, said it is a way to collect names and contact information for like-minded supporters – information that proves useful in future campaigns, fundraising and voter mobilization efforts.

It’s particularly true with hot button issues. In Pat McCrory’s gubernatorial campaign, Sinclair used contact information collected from a voter ID petition to engage supporters ahead of the election.

“The only reason you do a petition is to acquire followers and acquire advocates for your position,” said Sinclair. “It can be tremendously successful.” - Winston-Salem Journal, 2/9/13

Health experts have claimed that expanding Medicaid in North Carolina could help the state meet costs it will already have to pay such as a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over how the state cares for certain mentally ill patients:

Right now, thousands of patients are in state psychiatric hospitals or adult care homes not because they need intense supervision, Corey Dunn, director of public policy for Disability Rights North Carolina said, but because it's the only place they can get key services. In particular, many of these patients need help remembering to take their medication.

"Medication management is a major reason why people have accepted a more institutional level of care than they really need," Dunn said.

The Justice Department has said the state needs to move away from this preference toward putting people in institutional settings rather than in less restrictive community settings.  

In order to move people out of these institutional settings, the state will need to create a network of community providers. Expanding Medicaid would help because it would narrow a gap in what Medicaid pays for people in institutions versus those who live in the community. - WRAL, 2/4/13

Berger is just one of the dogs Art Pope has in this race.  The other is House Speaker Thom Tillis (R).  The Pope Foundation played a huge rule in the GOP's complete take over of the North Carolina legislator and Governorship:

Mr. McCrory first ran for governor in 2008 but was beaten by Ms. Perdue, then the lieutenant governor, who became the state’s first female governor. As a mayor on the moderate side of his party, Mr. McCrory had bipartisan support and was perhaps best known for revitalizing Charlotte with projects like a light-rail system and the Nascar museum.

His large transition team is being studied for signs of whether he will turn more conservative. It is heavy with Republican politicians and business leaders, including former members of President George W. Bush’s administration and former governors. The most controversial figures on the team are the billionaire businessman Art Pope and some of his allies who are connected to the John William Pope Foundation. The group, which is dedicated to conservative and free-market ideas, has given millions of dollars to libertarian and conservative groups, including the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity. - New York Times, 12/11/12

And look who's orchestrating Governor Pat McCrory's (R. NC) budget:
Gov.-elect Pat McCrory expanded his cabinet selections by three on Thursday, and named a trio of key staffers that includes controversial political financier Art Pope.

Pope – whose network of organizations promotes a limited-government agenda – will be the new governor’s top budget-writer. A multimillionaire, he will take a leave from his retail chain store business, as well as from his family foundation and all public and nonprofit boards he serves on in order to take the job without pay. - Charlotte News Observer, 12/21/12

So yeah, Pope's loyal crony, Berger, is trying to get a head start in the primary by continuing to push the same lies Republicans have been pushing about the Affordable Health Care Act.  Berger and Tillis are seriously considering challenging incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D. NC) but Pope's top choices might have to deal with this guy:

The Republican Liberty Caucus and The Eastern North Carolina Tea Party have united behind a Wake County physician’s effort to unseat U.S. Senator Kay Hagan.   Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary has thrown his hat in the ring as a GOP challenger to US Senator Kay Hagan — who is up for reelection in 2014.

Brannon announced his intentions Saturday at a Tea Party event in Winterville, North Carolina.  Regular listeners of the Bill LuMaye radio show in The Triangle  may recognize Brannon, who is a frequent guest.   Brannon also is known for his work with a grassroots organization called Founders’ Truth. - The Daily Haymaker, 1/28/13

You can hear Brannon's craziness here:

Hagan is very well aware of how tough of a race she's going in and she is getting ready.  She has over $1.3 million in the bank and she hired former Obama For American North Carolina director, Lindsay Siler, as a senior adviser to oversee constituent outreach and engagement.  Hagan also promoted her deputy communications director, Sadie Weiner, to communications director.  Weiner has also worked on Senator Sherrod Brown's (D. OH) 2012 re-election campaign.  She has also made herself available to her constituents with her "Conversations with Kay" community meetings that she has held in all 100 counties.  She's even teamed up with Senators Jeff Merkley (D. OR), Mark Udall (D. CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D. NH) to help raise money for each other's campaigns:

Four Democratic senators who are up for reelection in 2014 have joined forces on fundraising.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) created a joint fundraising committee last week called Senate Victory 2014, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Hagan is the most vulnerable senator in the group, and could face a tough reelection fight if a strong Republican challenger emerges, according to a recent poll.

Hagan is also the strongest fundraiser of the four, ending the last reporting period with more than $1.3 million in the bank. - The Hill, 1/28/13

It's still a while away but it's good to get an early start for 2014, especially when the whole local legislator is in the pockets of Art Pope which will spend big to get rid of Hagan.  Lets keep the Senate blue and donate to Hagan's campaign:

Originally posted to pdc on Sat Feb 09, 2013 at 03:51 PM PST.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE.

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