U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield seeks re-election
Congressman G.K. Butterfield announced he is going to seek re-election for the U.S. House seat in District 1. He has represented District 1 in Washington since July 2004. Since redistricting in 2010, District 1 covers portions of 24 counties, including Wilson County, and stretches eastward from Elizabeth City, as far north as Roanoke Rapids and as far west as Durham County. His district has a population of 735,000 as of the 2010 census and is projected to grow to 750,000 in 2014.
"I've already begun campaigning," Butterfield said Friday morning from his Nash Street office in Wilson.
Butterfield already has an opponent. Arthur Rich announced his candidacy in November as a Republican contender.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
Butterfield said Americans having access to better health care has been debated for years and many presidents, both Republican and Democrat, have said they want it. He said when President Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, his platform was to create a program whereby every American would have access to health insurance and a way to receive quality health care.
"People forget it was also a part of Sen. John McCain's platform as well," Butterfield said. "Both McCain and Obama talked about major reform in health insurance. Every president over the last 50 years have all talked about what can we do as a nation to produce better outcomes at lower cost? And what can we do to make sure every American has access to better health insurance?"
Butterfield said nationally, 47 million Americans who are the working poor don't have health care.
Butterfield said 150 million Americans have employer-sponsored health care and many of those plans are worthless.
"They appear to be quality plans of insurance, but when they are needed and when they are used, they don't have the coverage," Butterfield said. "And each year these employer-sponsored plans are going up in cost. The average increase is 16 to 18 percent per year. While the coverage offered by those policies is going down."
Butterfield said it amounts to less quality plans that cost more. He said many plans have pre-existing conditions that a person doesn't know about until they need it.
"And you have high copays, deductibles, lifetime limits, annual limits -- all of the fine print in these policies that when you think you have insurance and you go to use it, there is some excuse insurance companies use for not paying," Butterfield said.
Butterfield said that is why Obama said not only do the 50 million who don't have insurance need coverage, but those who do have insurance should have quality and affordable health care.
"The solution was that we would mandate that every American have insurance and that's the first pushback," Butterfield said. "The only way we can pay for the plan that President Obama envisions, everybody has got to participate in the plan."
Most Americans will be required to have health insurance in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The law requires coverage and includes fines for not getting insurance. There are subsidies for people who fall below certain income levels. Under the law, residents can't be refused coverage for a pre-existing medical condition.
The issue has become a heated political debate.
Butterfield said the states were asked to expand Medicaid for poor people who can't pay for insurance.