ACA

Do Burr and Tillis listen?

In a word, no.

By my count, both senators have received many thousands of calls and emails from worried constituents over the past week. Their voice mail boxes are full. And what is the result of those calls? Nothing. Both men voted to begin dismantling ACA, without even the illusion of a viable replacement plan. Of course, Trump has promised a magnificent alternative. Bigly indeed. Just like he promised Mexico would pay to build his wall.

For what it's worth

Here is my letter to my senators and representative (Holding) regarding the ACA. I don't pretend to think it will do any good, but at least maybe they will know that they are being held accountable for their role. Or maybe the effort will make me feel a little better.

Senator Burr
Senator Tillis
Representative Holding

Governor Cooper set to expand Medicaid in NC

And it may be just that simple:

Cooper’s action seems certain to spur howls of protest from Republican lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups that have long derided Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act (aka”Obamacare”) as “socialized medicine.” Four years ago, at the outset of the administration of Cooper’s predecessor, Pat McCrory, North Carolina legislators enacted a law that purports to prevent the Governor from acting unilaterally to expand Medicaid. Cooper, however, believes that he has authority to act in his role as the state official empowered to craft and negotiate the “Medicaid waiver” plan that North Carolina is currently negotiating with federal officials. It is known that McCrory engaged in conversations with the Obama administration on such a possible move.

Wow. If you had asked me about Medicaid expansion a couple days (or hours) ago, I would have said something along the lines of, "It won't happen until we take back the Legislature." Shows what I know. I am liking Roy Cooper more and more every day.

Ned Barnett's Editorial About NC's Higher Health Insurance Premiums

Already online tonight, linked here and below, is a Ned Barnett editorial based on a lengthy interview he and I had a few days ago. If the State of North Carolina had taken my recommendations from 2010-2013 then health insurance rates for many individuals and families would be lower now in 2015, 2016 and the foreseeable future than what we are experiencing now. The editorial should appear in the print Sunday version of the N&O tomorrow. I welcome your feedback.

Misogynist GOP Healthcare Plan

NC's own, Senator Richard Burr, is working on the health plan Republicans plan to propose as a replacement for Obamacare. One of the things setting the two plans apart is maternity coverage: Obamacare requires it, the Burr plan does not. Evidently, Senator Burr doesn't think health insurance needs to cover maternity care, even though about 54% of registered voters in North Carolina are women.

The health of a million NC citizens at risk

Resting in the hands of the US Supreme Court:

We have written before about King v. Burwell, the case that will be heard before the US Supreme Court to determine whether or not health insurance subsidies can flow to states that refused to establish state-based marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act.

KFF researchers think more than 13 million people nationally, and about 1 million people in North Carolina, would lose tax credits if the Supreme Court denies subsidies to federal marketplace states. For most of these folks insurance would immediately become unaffordable. This is especially true because prices would most likely spiral upward as younger, healthier enrollees lose coverage.

The Affordable Care Act is a complex formula, created to solve an equally complex problem. While some elements of this formula are not critical to its success, some of them are, such as these subsidies. Thanks to the unwise and ideologically-driven decision to not expand Medicaid, North Carolina already has a gaping hole in coverage that most other states don't, or soon won't. If we lose these subsidies, also thanks to poor judgment on the part of GOP leaders who refused to lift a finger to build a marketplace, our people will suffer the consequences, and so will our healthcare providing network. It's not just a failure of leadership, it's the equivalent of setting up firing squads across the state, without having to worry about being charged with war crimes.

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