This is View from the Hill’s weekly roundup of the most interesting news from Washington, D.C. pertaining to North Carolina and the UNC system.
Hagan fundraises with Biden despite criticisms
Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., held a fundraiser for her re-election campaign on UNC’s campus with Vice President Joe Biden on Friday. But the day before, she criticized President Barack Obama’s announcement on health insurance.
On Thursday, Obama announced that people who purchased health insurance plans on the individual market that did not meet requirements under the Affordable Care Act would be allowed to keep their insurance plans for an extra year.
But afterwards, Hagan said the announcement was not enough and criticized the problems with the health insurance marketplace’s website.
“Right now North Carolinians need accountability,” Hagan said in a statement. “They need to be able to keep their current plans, and we need actual progress on getting healthcare.gov to work.”
Hagan’s simultaneous criticism and support is reflective of her political situation.
A recent poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling showed Hagan is almost tied with most of her potential opponents in next year’s Senate race.
The same poll also showed the Affordable Care Act has a disapproval rating of 48 percent in North Carolina and that 69 percent think the rollout of the law has been unsuccessful.
Team Obama loves Chapel Hill
Biden’s visit to the Alumni Center on campus is just the latest example of the Obama team’s love for UNC.
Biden has shown special attention to Chapel Hill in the past month, calling Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt to congratulate him on his reelection.
In summer 2010, Biden visited Chapel Hill for a fundraiser at the Carolina Inn. In 2008, Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, campaigned on campus with Ashley Judd.
The First Family has also visited the town. Last year, First Lady Michelle Obama held a rally at Carmichael Arena.
Earlier that year, the president spoke at the same arena to speak about student loan interest rates. Obama also spoke at UNC during his first presidential campaign in 2008, when he visited the Smith Center.
Obama has also used his well-known love for basketball as a chance to highlight UNC. In 2011, the Tar Heels played the Carrier Classic on the U.S.S Carl Vinson with Obama as a guest.
In 2012, Obama’s March Madness bracket had UNC winning, as did his 2009 bracket, when UNC did win it all.
The relationship the administration has with the town may also be due to the state being a reliable Democratic stronghold in a swing state.
North Carolinians learn of Medicaid eligibility without expansion
Despite not expanding Medicaid, North Carolina has seen some of its residents able to enroll in the health care program.
The North Carolina General Assembly passed a bill in February that turned down money that would have expanded Medicaid in the state.
Still, according a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 7,404 people in the state have learned they were eligible for Medicaid or for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.
But the number of North Carolinians who have been able to select a plan through healthcare.gov is much lower at 1,662 people able to sign up for insurance plans through the marketplace.
View from the Hill is a political blog by Daily Tar Heel staff writers. Any opinion expressed in it does not represent the Daily Tar Heel. Email the blog coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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