Mark Binker over at the Greensboro News and Record had a nice story this past weekend: “Sen. Hagan hedges on health care reforms.” The title says it all – the Senator has been identified as being one of the Democrats who is expressing the most doubt about health care reform. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In her years in the NC Senate, especially as Appropriations Chair, Senator Hagan developed a reputation as a very conservative business-friendly Democrat. Back in 2005 she even pushed for a budget that cut taxes on the wealthiest North Carolinians while removing Medicaid coverage from 65,000 aged, blind, and disabled people in poverty.
So, Hagan is pretty conservative, especially about health care. No surprise. But does she have to be this conservative in Binker’s story?
“Sen. Hagan is looking at all the public option proposals,” said spokesman David Hoffman. “She’s going to be working with her colleagues to ensure private health insurance isn’t going to be destabilized.”
Isn’t this the whole point of health reform, especially in a state like North Carolina where one insurer, NC Blue Cross, insures the vast majority of people in NC? People who like their Blue Cross coverage should keep it – but Blue ought to feel threatened by some competition finally in NC. They might get leaner, stop paying millions in salaries to top executives, and worry about keeping premium increases down to levels people can afford, even if they aren’t 25 years old.