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Lieutenant Governor Perdue’s Health Plan

Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue released her health plan yesterday – under the radar and without much fanfare at all.  That’s strange, because her suggestions are the most significant changes in health care access in North Carolina in, quite literally, decades.  It looks to me like she took some baseline proposals from the NC Institute of Medicine and expanded on them.  Basically she proposes:

1.  Universal coverage for all children in NC.  To do this she would beef up the Kid Care program for parents between 200% and 300% federal poverty level enacted by the General Assembly last session, allow parents of any income to buy the plan by paying the full premium cost, and expand outreach efforts for kids eligible but not enrolled in Health Choice and Medicaid.

2.  Extend coverage to 125,000 parents of kids we already cover.  A basic health plan through Medicaid would be offered for parents below 150% federal poverty level ($25,755 annual income for a family of three.)  Benefits would be more limited than under the Medicaid program.

3.  Expand coverage options for small businesses.  This is the least detailed of her proposals, but it looks like she is envisioning some sort of basic preventive care-focused coverage policy that would be offered to small businesses where the state, employer, and employee would each pay one-third of the cost.  She also generally proposes tax credits but there is no detail there.

4.  Expanding the focus on preventive health services to control costs.  However, there is not much detail here either.

Overall, she estimates about 400,000 children and parents could be covered from her expansions.  She doesn’t offer numbers on the small business expansion – either estimates for coverage or costs.  In fact a weakness in the plan is she isn’t clear about where financing for these proposals will come from.  She does quote the Institute of Medicine’s numbers on insuring parents under her plan – $78 million.   

Along with Treasurer (and candidate for Governor) Richard Moore’s plan released last week to insure all kids, Perdue’s plan makes it clear that any credible candidate for Governor in North Carolina is going to have to tell people how they are going to start to address the problem of rising healthcare costs and the 1.4 million people without coverage.  And that can only be a good thing.  Let the debate begin.

18 Comments

  1. Max

    September 28, 2007 at 11:13 am

    Sigh. So much for creativity. Looks like more of the same… Here is the problem with Bev’s plan and the larger socialization project.

    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=092107A

    Still wanna call US healthcare a “free market”? Why that’s just downright silly.

    (Oh, and I still want to debate you, publically, Adam. In fact, you can pick anyone you like and we can do a two against two debate. What say you?)

  2. Max

    September 28, 2007 at 11:15 am

    I think you’ve also got a serious problem with the perverse problem so the low wage trap, too, Bev and Adam:
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  3. Children's Health Matters

    September 28, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    I think Perdue and Moore are absolutely correct to focus on health care, starting with children. Decades of research show us that good health care, starting in the womb, helps children become healthier more productive adults. If we intend to compete in the economic “free market” then we better pay attention to our workforce before its too late. Those who would put the profit-driven, so-called “free market” of health insurance above the health and well-being of our children are not only insensitive, but out of synch with the moral views of the public. Kudos to any policy maker that makes serious proposals to provide health care to all North Carolinians.

  4. child health now

    September 28, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    There are a very significant number of children without health insurance in families above 2 1/2 times the poverty level for a family of four — even in families 3 X the poverty level. As more and more employers either drop health care coverage or require their employees to pay the full cost of dependents and/or dependents, we will need to find a way to extend coverage those families if we are really serious about universal health coverage for all children in NC

  5. DEFuning

    September 29, 2007 at 9:39 am

    Max, this argument is so full of propaganda. Let’s be clear:propaganda is no substitute for facts. Policy rates are tied to the ever increasing demand for stockholder profits. Insurance companies invest heavily in the stock market and as the market fails to deliver premiums go up for consumers–including medical malpractice rates. And for the record, the “free market” is a euphemism for “rigged market”. I worked for years for a major insurer and also was on the national re-engineering team. Stop blaming sick people and doctors.

    To assert that sick people in the policy pool drive up the rates is nonsense. I know that this is the story the insurance companies espouse but it is bunk. It is tantamount to saying that restaurant food prices go up because really hungry people are eating there. Any consumer knows the myriad methods insurance companies use to deny coverage, delay payments and otherwise drag their feet so that they do not have to pay claims. They are very successful at this and their strategies become more outrageous and effective daily. There is little to no oversight of the industry. Just try to get the Insurance Commission to take on an insurance company on behalf of a consumer–they are reluctant , not because they are bad people but because Goliath is too big and David’s slingshot is too small. There is greed in the mix but it is not the docs in most cases.

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