NC GOP's anti-Obamacare obsession threatens autism coverage

Who said lapel pins couldn't make a difference?

In 2013, the state House passed a bill that would have required insurance companies to offer coverage for autism-related services. That measure stalled in the Senate but would be eligible for the "short" legislative session, which begins on Wednesday.

In the interim, a committee appointed to study the state's response to the Affordable Care Act crafted a two-pronged bill. One part of that measure would require insurers to display the added cost of the Affordable Care Act on people's insurance bills. The other part of the measure would commit the state to not imposing any new insurance mandates – requirements for coverage – for two years, starting in 2015.

Proving once again, it doesn't matter what (little) good the NC House can accomplish, if the power-hungry Republicans in the NC Senate refuse to act on it. And you know why they do this? Because it sends a clear message to all the lobbyists and wealthy businessmen just exactly where their campaign contributions need to be spent, if they want something done. In case you're wondering about the "lapel pins" reference:

Minorities hit hard by NC Republican's decision to not expand Medicaid

The NC Institutes of Medicine has released a report noting that minorities are being hit hard by the refusal of McCrory and the Republicans refusal to expand Medicaid coverage in the state.

According to KFF, it was estimated that at the end of 2012, the majority of uninsured, non-elderly persons in North Carolina were minorities – 44 percent Hispanic and 21 percent black – compared with 15 percent of whites.

By not expanding Medicaid, “North Carolina has been left out of a major health program,” said Victor Schoenbach, an epidemiology professor at UNC-Chapel Hill. “There is no additional revenue for the state. North Carolina is forgoing millions in revenue and potentially offering fewer jobs in health care than expected.”

CBO updates Obamacare price tag projections and it's a shocker

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have released updated projections on the cost of Obamacare over the next ten years and the savings start immediately.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated their estimates of the budgetary effects of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that relate to health insurance coverage. The new estimates, which are included in CBO’s latest baseline projections, reflect CBO’s most recent economic forecast, account for administrative actions taken and regulations issued through March 2014, and incorporate new data and various modeling updates.1

Tillis's Obamacare witch hunt skewered

This Raleigh News & Observer editorial is pure stark truth about Thom Tillis's taxpayer-funded Obamacare bashing stunt.

The committee’s meeting was designed to showcase one side and one side only in the health care debate. Republicans have at every turn tried to make it harder for people in North Carolina to access the ACA’s benefits. They even turned down an expansion of Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor and disabled, although the federal government would have paid the cost.

Trying to find political cover for the unwise decisions to throw hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians under the bus without healthcare insurance, Tillis is apparently worried that people are realizing that the ACA is a good thing.

Tillis's Obamacare witch hunt commences

Thom Tillis's panel to "examine the impact of the Affordable Care Act on North Carolina" has started.

It's packed with GOP right-wing nut jobs, and its clear intent is to bash Obamacare and by extension, President Obama and Senator Hagan. This is a blatant use of public money for Thom Tillis's senate campaign.

The first speaker? Dr. Chris Conover (the GOP says he's a Duke professor; he's also with the loony American Enterprise Institute.

He's telling horror stories about Obamacare costs and the right-wing nut jobs are lapping it up:

Running Against Obamacare May Not Be So Easy

This is from the Huffington Post:
"WASHINGTON -- The former chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party will save $1,000 a month in premiums for his family's health care package after signing up for a new policy through the Obamacare exchange.

But Fergus Cullen said the savings aren't enough to turn him into a supporter of the new health care law. He said he anticipates higher out-of-pocket costs with his new Anthem-administered plan, and he's frustrated by what he sees as a lack of information about coverage options. His old plan, which was pricey but covered what he needed, was cancelled by his insurer because it didn't meet Obamacare regulations.

"Fundamentally, the plan I wanted to buy is one that gives me catastrophic coverage for my family and lets me self-insure for everything else," Cullen said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.

Burr stumping again for his ACA alternative

Senator Richard Burr (R-Land of Make Believe) is on the stump again flogging the dead horse of the ACA alternative proposed by he and some other Republican Senators and backed by the Koch stinktank machine.

Meanwhile, with all the actors and misleading stories used in ads to bash the Affordable Care Act, Mother Jones wonders if anyone is actually being harmed by the law.

Will any media outlet actually challenge Burr to produce a fully documented case of someone being harmed by the ACA that can stand up to scrutiny?

Can someone explain the thinking behind "open enrollment" periods?

This has bothered me for a long time: What's the rationale for having pre-established periods during which customers can buy health insurance? It's not just related to ACA. Annual enrollment deadlines have been with us forever, forcing a frenzy of decision-making that seems to make no sense.

What America needs is universal healthcare where "enrollment" is equal to being born. The rest of the bureaucracy is nothing but bullshit designed to enrich private companies, while adding no discernible value to society.

Medicaid expansion, 2015

If medicaid is expanded in NC it will be in 2015.

It will give the hospital industry time to gear up their lobbying arm and have an impact on NCGA. They will then be dealing with the winners of the 2014 state election and not those currently running to be re-elected and subject to right wing criticism on the issue.

Expansion the year before he is up for re-election will allow McCrory to claim he has 'fixed' the medicaid program here--perhaps by replacing Aldona Wos (A small sacrifice for a second term as governor.) He can then bask in the warmth of those happy with their new coverage. And receive campaign contributions from the hospital lobby. It will please moderate voters and allow McCrory to say he is truly the moderate he claimed he was during his first gubernatorial campaign, pulling their votes back in his direction for 2016.

More heat for Rucho's Nazi Tweet

It was either ignorance or deception, take your pick:

Last week, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum equated Obamacare with Apartheid. This week, state Sen. Bob Rucho joined others who have equated Obamacare to Nazism (among other evils). Their obvious purpose is to inflame an uninformed electorate to be against something using terms representing atrocities. While imperfect, complex and rolled out poorly, to equate something that is trying to help people gain access to healthcare insurance as akin to Apartheid and Nazism portrays ignorance or deception.

Not sure we need to pick. Ignorance and deception probably share equal credit for this effort to enflame, and Rucho's obstinacy in refusing to apologize is evidence he realizes he was guilty of both.

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