North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis — viewed as one of the most vulnerable GOP senators in 2020 — has found himself in an uncomfortable situation after a staffer's excessively honest comments to a constituent were caught on tape.
As first reported by WRAL, Bev Veals of Carolina Beach, a three-time cancer survivor, called her senator out of fear that her health insurance was at risk. She has previously faced medical bankruptcy and difficulty accessing care, WRAL said, and her husband was furloughed because of the pandemic. She wanted assurance that she'd have coverage if she lost her health insurance.
But Tillis's office wasn't helpful. While speaking to a dismissive staffer, Veals began to record their conversation, which was provided to WRAL and can be viewed above.
“You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes health care?” Veals asked.
“Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt,” the staffer replied. “If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it”
“But health care is something that people need, especially if they have cancer,” Veals protested.
“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” the staffer responded.
“So what do I do in the meantime?” She asked
“Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure out,” he said.
WRAL sent Veals’ video to Tillis’ office and requested an interview with the senator. Instead, spokesman Daniel Keylin sent a statement with an apology.
“The way Mrs. Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken,” Keylin said.
Veals said she wants more than an apology.
“We need our legislators to listen to us and help us solve this problem because it’s not just my problem – not being able to afford health care,” she said. “It’s the problem of hundreds and thousands of North Carolinians.”
By the way, Cal Cunningham (D. NC) on this:
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