When children or teenagers have a medical emergency, their parents may not be immediately available to approve care. But according to the Charlotte Observer, North Carolina House Republicans are advancing dangerous new legislation that could delay the delivery of emergency care by requiring parental consent before teenagers "could receive birth control or be treated for sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse or mental illness."
But the text of HB 693 reveals even more damaging implications than the Observer's report identifies. The bill would make it illegal for doctors and hospitals to provide "services for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of (i) sexually transmitted diseases, including Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, (ii) abuse of controlled substances or alcohol, (iii) mental illness, or (iv) pregnancy." And the re-written medical emergency exemption only applies if "a medical emergency exists that so complicates the pregnancy as to require an immediate abortion or the immediate provision of health care services." [emphasis added]
In other words: Hospitals could no longer even diagnose some potentially life-threatening diseases without a parent's consent. Pregnancy tests without a parent's consent could no longer be administered simply to avoid the catastrophic birth defects associated with some medications. And medical emergency exceptions for HIV/AIDS, drug or alcohol overdose, and many other life-threatening conditions would not apply to boys or non-pregnant girls. (Even if a patient were pregnant, how could a doctor legally make that determination, since "diagnosis" of a pregnancy would be illegal while her parents are out of touch?)
Yesterday, North Carolina Senate Republicans unveiled a multi-billion dollar tax bill, whose centerpiece is a massive tax break for the state's richest earners. The GOP plan would cut the top income tax bracket nearly in half, "to 4.5 percent from the current 7.75 percent." To pay for it, "A married couple with two children making $30,000 a year would pay an estimated $1,000 more in taxes each year, according to a calculator on a political website designed to support the plan." [emphasis added]
That's because the plan expands state taxes to include "Social Security," "prescription drugs and food," and "nearly 170 types of services" that aren't presently taxed - including legal, accounting, and doctors' visits. Most of these new taxes will fall heaviest on low-income families and small businesses who can't afford, for instance, to hire their own in-house attorneys and accountants.
The plan also throws salt in the wounds of almost 500,000 working North Carolinians, who won't get access to affordable health insurance because GOP legislators already rejected Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. Thanks to the GOP's new health care taxes, coverage will be even more impossible for these families to afford, and most of them now also be hit with that thousand-dollar tax hike.
North Carolina Republicans are finally cracking down on free-loading four-year-olds with a new bill to "limit eligibility for the state’s pre-kindergarten program." New income limits under HB 935 would mean "a family of three could not make more than $19,530 a year to have a 4-year-old qualify for N.C. Pre-K."
And then there's this: "Other ways to qualify, such as having developmental needs or being a child in a military family, remain in the bill, although a child with limited English proficiency would no longer meet the guidelines."
How's that whole "inclusive and welcoming" thing coming along, Republicans?
The Koch Brothers have decided to release its brand of divisive and underhanded politics onto North Carolina. According to a press release from the North Carolina Democratic Party, Americans for Prosperity "has committed to investing at least $500,000 in a statewide campaign to represent their far-right, radical agenda" as North Carolina prepares to discuss tax reform in the state.