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NC lawmakers won't act on part of US health reform

Posted June 28, 2012

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— North Carolina lawmakers said Thursday that they have no plans to meet a deadline to create a new one-stop shop to help individuals and small businesses find affordable health insurance despite a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said senators do not intend to take up legislation to create a health benefit exchange before they adjourn next week. The 2010 federal health care overhaul requires all states to have an exchange. Legislation passed the state House last year.

State plans for the markets are due to the federal government by this fall. The federal government will create exchanges for states that don't have them by 2014. Only 14 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted a plan for carrying out the law creating exchanges that steer middle-class households to private plans.

North Carolina's high-risk insurance pool, which is designed as a stop-gap until the state's health exchange is in place, is among the fastest-growing in the nation, with 14,500 people signed up, according to Michael Keough, executive director of Inclusive Health, which operates the pool.

"We're happy to continue playing the role for whatever time in necessary as sort of the insurer of last resort in the state," Keough said. "We're hoping, for whatever time we have left, to continue to raise awareness and help people who need coverage."

Business owners balk at mandate

Gregg Thompson, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said he was disappointed by the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. NFIB joined 26 states in challenging the law.

"We are concerned about the precedent that this will set in Congress’ ability to mandate other aspects of our lives, but we will move forward from today to continue to fight, harder than ever, for real health-care reform for our membership," Thompson said in a statement.

Small-business owners will now "face an onslaught of taxes and mandates," he said, which will force some to lay off employees and others to close altogether.

Mark Friedman, chief operating officer of UAI Technology Inc., which advises businesses on retirement and health plans, said a health benefit exchange, whether it's run by the state or the federal government, could save some businesses money by giving them an opportunity to drop their own health coverage.

"What really needs to happen now is that companies need to decide if they want to be in the business of providing health insurance to their employees or whether they want to consider letting employees go to exchanges," Friedman said. "So, it's a new option for employers."

The court's ruling also means that more than 1 million uninsured North Carolina residents will have health coverage, said Pam Silberman, president and chief executive of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine.

The organization has been tasked with making recommendations to the state for how best to implement the 450 provisions of the health care law.

Silberman said the law also includes provisions that will improve the quality of care and preventive medicine, but she said meeting the 2014 deadline for establishing a health exchange – and linking an expanded Medicaid program to the exchange – will be a challenge for the state.

State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the Department of Insurance will use its authority to protect North Carolina consumers and maintain a well-regulated insurance market.

61 Comments

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  • sweetums googoo Jun 29, 7:15 p.m.

    @ IB

    Begging your pardon, but isn't the title of the article that these comments are for:

    "NC lawmakers won't act on part of US health reform"

    Thats me... uninformed.

  • Objective Scientist Jun 29, 7:07 p.m.

    "How can our legislature refuse to follow federal law? Can't we arrest them for this?" - post by RedRobin - June 29, 2012 6:17 p.m.

    They refuse to follow the law b/c they are Republicans... and I am a very INDEPENDENT independent - definitely NOT a Democrat! I just saw, on CBS Evening News, John Boehner state that the law that was just rules constitutional needs to be - in its entirety - "ripped out by the roots" and start all over. When the interviewer pressed him and asked - "Even the parts that are popular and there is some agreement on?" His response was the same - "ripped out by the roots" in its entirety! With all due respect to the Speaker of the House that is a statement indicative of a first class IMBECILE - or he is completely blinded by partisanship! I don't think he is an imbecile, you can't be an imbecile and achieve what he has, so it has to be the latter. This type of thing will be the ruin of our great country!!! Dems - Repubs - WORK TOGETHER!!!

  • IBnormal Jun 29, 6:58 p.m.

    Democratic Gov. Bev Pedue: “This morning’s Supreme Court ruling will be welcome news for the approximately 95,000 young people ages 19 to 25 who will be able to stay on their family’s health insurance plan because of this law. It’s welcome news for the approximately 539,000 North Carolina children with preexisting medical conditions, because this law prevents insurance companies from denying these children coverage."

    RedRobin and Dangerbob21, Get informed and stop the blame

  • sweetums googoo Jun 29, 6:43 p.m.

    @Robin
    Please be aware, when it comes to actually helping the citizens of NC, our legislature will not act and in this case in particular will stall, obfuscate and mis-inform until they are either voted out or the threat of being voted out changes their minds. Doing something for the good of the people (without running it by a national "party" line) seems to be a thing for more civil minds... Not the current crop of legislatures.

  • RedRobin Jun 29, 6:17 p.m.

    At least 17% of North Carolinians are uninsured. My two sons who work fulltime and attend college parttime -- in their early 20s -- cannot afford to either pay to stay on my insurance or pay for their own policies. They need access to affordable health insurance. How can our legislature refuse to follow federal law? Can't we arrest them for this?

  • Objective Scientist Jun 29, 3:19 p.m.

    What's up with WRAL moderators? I have submitted several comments to this and other articles about the Supreme Court ruling that have not been posted. I never use profanity, I don't attack people personally, I am politically independent and have no problem questioning and critiquing BOTH Democrats and Republicans, etc. Yet... over the past couple of days I have had numerous posts... NOT posted. What gives?

  • IBnormal Jun 29, 3:01 p.m.

    These Cadillac Rules will cause a majority of plans to be dropped, like mine,(except for union plans that received an exemption)

  • IBnormal Jun 29, 2:38 p.m.

    What were the lies.....Could you give me one or two main ones that you were writing about? MakoII

    “First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.” Obama

    “When I say ‘If you have your plan and you like it,… or you have a doctor and you like your doctor, that you don't have to change plans,’” the president said after we asked him about this, “what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform.” Obama

    No,but,if you have a so call "Cadillac Plan" the govt will tax your employer 40% for everything over $10,200 for offering a better plan. More than 60% of employer-sponsored plans will be classified as tax-incurring Cadillac Plans by the provision’s 2018 effective date. These Cadillac Rules will cause a majority of plans to be dropped, like mine,(except for union plans that received an

  • Disabled Veteran Jun 29, 2:35 p.m.

    Emporer,
    When I was stationed in Georgia, every time I was deployed I would cancel my car insurance because I wasn't using it. When I came back to Georgia my license would be suspended. If you don't keep insurance the state will penalize you for not doing so. Unfortunately they can mandate us. I assume this applies to this Reform as well

  • sweetums googoo Jun 29, 2:17 p.m.

    There is no for-profit entity involved with health care that gives a darn about you (when it comes to accounting)! These entities will take profits for a bit until the markets evolve companies to compete on this new field and prices will eventually go down, bankruptcies due to health care costs will go down, insurance companies will get more policy holders, hospitals will be paid for services rendered and the newly insured can get a regular doctors visit to address a simple ailment for a fractional cost of really getting sick and going to the emergency room for care.

    The overall cost for care will go down for everyone involved! This law is good for all involved. Now the for-profit health care entities need to do their part.

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