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Mark Robinson, GOP Nominee for NC Governor, Compared Obamacare to Enslavement

Robinson has also belittled his own party's calls to “repeal and replace” the ACA, saying he wants "just repeal."

Mark Robinson addresses supporters during a campaign event in Faison, North Carolina, on February 17, 2024.

Recently unearthed audio showcases North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson (R) denouncing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — the latest in scores of comments he’s made over the past years that will likely hurt his election chances in the gubernatorial race this fall.

In the audio, which is from an interview he gave to a conservative YouTube channel in 2018, Robinson disparaged the ACA, comparing the popular health care program to enslavement.

“It is not just Black people. It is a concentrated effort to enslave everybody,” Robinson said about the ACA, which is sometimes called Obamacare.

Robinson complained about the law’s many positives, including the fact that it allows people to remain on their parents’ insurance plans up to the age of 26.

Robinson has long been an opponent of the ACA, writing in a Facebook post one year prior to that interview that he wanted to repeal the law, disagreeing with Republicans who were advocating for a “repeal and replace” plan at the time.

“I just want REPEAL! When it comes to insurance/healthcare the federal government can kick rocks,” Robinson wrote that year, adding that he disagreed with the notion that health care is a human right.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that the ACA has improved health outcomes for Americans overall. A study published in 2019, five years after the law was implemented, found that the lives of at least 19,000 people were saved because of the Medicaid expansion that was included in the law. Conversely, more than 15,000 people died prematurely in states that opted out of that expansion.

Another study from 2020 found that the law in its entirety likely reduced the number of deaths in the U.S. by 100,000 individuals, compared to how many would have died had the ACA not been passed.

A KFF poll from February this year also found that the law is very popular — nearly 6 in 10 Americans (59 percent) have a favorable view of the ACA. Meanwhile, just 39 percent say they view the health care law unfavorably, mainly due to rising costs from their own private health insurers.

In the same interview from 2018, Robinson denigrated LGBTQ people, describing it as “disgusting” that churches were allowing LGBTQ people to hold leadership positions.

Robinson also spewed homophobic rhetoric in 2021, when he described LGBTQ people as “filth” and expressed deep opposition to marriage equality.

In addition to his attacks on LGBTQ people, Robinson has railed against abortion and reproductive rights, and once expressed the belief that women don’t deserve to serve in government leadership positions.

These and similar statements have been brought to the forefront in recent weeks, especially following Robinson’s primary election win to run as the Republican candidate for governor in North Carolina. Last fall, the GOP candidate addressed the comments but failed to issue an apology or say that his views have changed in some way.

These comments “were poorly worded on my part, did not convey my real sentiments” Robinson said in October, “and I have addressed those issues and moved on from those issues.”

Democrats in North Carolina — including Robinson’s main opponent, Attorney General Josh Stein — have said that the Republican nominee’s troubling comments will definitely be part of the general election conversation.

“Our obligation as a campaign is to make sure that people have the information they need in order to make the right choice,” Stein said last week.

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