I almost feel guilty doing this because it's so easy. It must be hard to be an ideological conservative. You need to toe the party line to get the votes, but what if one of your special interest buddies needs some, shall we say, "consideration?" This was the position of the unfortunate Representative Nelson Dollar of Wake County yesterday when the heath insurance high risk pool was discussed and approved by the NC House Health Committee.
The pool would allow people with serious medical conditions to purchase insurance at higher rates than healthy folks, but not so high as to be completely unaffordable – like the $1000 to $2000 a month premiums someone with, for example, multiple sclerosis is routinely quoted. Excess medical costs for people in the pool are shared by a fee on all insurance companies in the state – just like in NC's automobile high risk pool.
This payment scheme offended Representative Dollar. He supported the risk pool but insisted the state pick up the excess costs rather than spreading the cost among the insurance companies. Wait a minute – is this the same Dollar who recently thundered, "Its time to cut the pork barrel and special interest money out of the budget…"? Now he's ready at the drop of a hat to spend taxpayer dollars to relieve the insurance industry of covering the sickest (and most unprofitable) people in the state to insure. I guess he thinks all those savings will be passed on to insurance company customers and not go to fatter executive salaries, stock option grants, and even bigger profits. Hmmm. I've got some beachfront property for sale – just step this way and ignore the sandbags.