Are you a health care worker? We’d love to hear from you. Email editor at northcarolinahealthnews.org

5th Congressional District

A longtime Congresswoman faces a first-time opponent in a district that favors the Republican incumbent.

By Hannah Critchfield

Dr. Virginia Foxx, Republican incumbent from Greenville

Age: 77

Campaign Website

Facebook page

Political experience: Foxx has served in the House of Representatives since 2004; prior to that, she was the former president of Mayland Community College.

Education/Personal: M.A. in college teaching and Ed.D from the UNC Greensboro; B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill

Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Foxx had raised $1,431,103 for her campaign, spent $759,928 and had $3,098,300 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.

David Wilson Brown, Democrat from Charlotte

Age: 46

Campaign Website

Facebook page

Political experience: Wilson Brown is a full-time IT consultant specializing in business productivity. In 1995, he interned under Rep. Sue Wilkins Myrick in Washington, DC and has previously worked in communications, including a year at WBTV.

Education/Personal: B.A. in political science and communication from Appalachian State University

Campaign contributions: As of June 30, Wilson Brown had raised $36,379 for his campaign, spent $32,862 and had $3,370 on hand, according to OpenSecrets.

Congresswoman Virginia Foxx did not respond to North Carolina Health News’ requests for an interview, or an emailed statement, regarding her positions on these issues. David Wilson Brown provided his positions on seven issue areas. 

The Affordable Care Act

If re-elected, Foxx will continue in her fight to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as – and referred to on her website as – Obamacare.

Foxx instead wants free market choices for coverage, and previously supported the “American Health Care Act of 2017,” which would have replaced the ACA. (The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the legislation would have increased the number of uninsured people by 23 million over 10 years, but would have decreased the federal budget deficit by $119 billion; the bill did not pass.)

“The bill returns control of health care from Washington back to the states and restores the free market so Americans can access quality, affordable health care options that are tailored to their needs,” Foxx currently states on her House website.

“The Affordable Care Act has done a good job of setting basic standards of care, including protections for pre-existing conditions and improved coverage for preventative care practices,” Wilson Brown wrote to NC Health News. “But it does not do enough to ensure that Americans will not go bankrupt because they are sick.

“I will fight for a single-payer system that guarantees all our citizens have healthcare coverage.”

Reproductive Health

Foxx opposes abortion. She has co-sponsored a number of bills over the years seeking to restrict access to the practice and cut funding for abortion providers.

“Few things demean the sanctity of human life more than elective Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017 abortion” her website currently states.

She has supported or co-sponsored bills such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2017, the No Abortion Bonds Act, and the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act.

“Reproductive healthcare is healthcare. All decisions made should be between a doctor and their patient,” Wilson Brown wrote to NC Health News.

“America is one of the wealthiest countries and there is no excuse for our maternal mortality rate to be double in 2016 what it was in 1987. More alarming is the racial/ethnic disparity in pregnancy-related mortality reported by the CDC with 42.4 deaths per 100,000 live births for black non-Hispanic women compared to 13.0 deaths per 100,000 live births for white non-Hispanic women.

“I will take what I believe is the only truly pro-life stance – universal healthcare that includes all facets of reproductive health and bodily autonomy.”

Medicaid expansion

Foxx doesn’t support Medicaid expansion in North Carolina under the ACA.

Earlier this year, she voted against the proposed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, also known as H.R. 1425, which would increase federal funding for Medicaid expansion. The bill passed in the House and is currently moving through the Senate.

Wilson Brown wrote that the “proposed Medicaid expansion in North Carolina should be approved immediately.”

Rural health care funding

“I want to go to Washington to serve those communities so often left behind,” Wilson Brown wrote. “Additional funding and access to telehealth providers would alleviate the necessity for long trips and waiting times in rural areas. Therefore, in addition to prioritizing healthcare, my platform also includes plans to expand broadband access to rural communities.”

NC Health News could not find much information about where Rep. Foxx stands on funding for rural health funding.

Masks/ no masks

“We must follow the guidance of the scientific community. A global pandemic should never be a political issue,” Brown wrote. “Vaccines are not political tools, and masks are proven to reduce the spread of the virus.

“When our health experts have a vaccine, that is proven both safe and effective, I will support their guidance,” he added. “Masks should be worn in all public settings.”

The opioid crisis

Foxx has historically gone on the record about her passion for support in fighting against the opioid crisis in the state and across the county. She was a co-sponsor of the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, a comprehensive bipartisan bill designed to address the nation’s opioid overdose epidemic, which passed into law in 2018.

“The opioid crisis is the result of corporations being allowed to prioritize profits over people. Insurance companies often fully cover pain medication, like OxyContin, but not pain management treatments such as physical therapy,” Wilson Brown told NC Health News in written responses to NC Health News questions.

“And pharmaceutical companies train doctors on the safety and efficacy of their medications.

“This system works against patients from start to finish with little to no accountability. I would like to see pharmaceutical companies take responsibility for creating this issue by helping us continue to solve it and funding recovery programs.”