Senator Hagan’s Leadership

As a new Senator, NC’s Kay Hagan was dropped into one of the most volatile policy debates in years shortly after she joined the US Senate. Not only was she assigned to the Senate Health Committee in charge of drafting a substantial part of the health insurance reform legislation, but she was just elected from what is now clearly a swing state with a rapidly shifting and now very high-pressure political climate.

A veteran of some pretty heated health policy discussion in the NC General Assembly, Senator Hagan is no stranger to hashing out important legislation in a difficult political environment with intense criticism from both the right and the left. (Even, gasp, here at the Pulse.) While the NC Senate would be intimidating for anyone, she worked hard on the Senate Health Committee and took some pretty strong complaints from the progressive side of her party as she worked out solutions in the health reform plan like the public option structure.

In the end though, her hard work to look for compromises on health insurance reform has made her more effective rather than diluted her impact. In an interview with WRAL yesterday, the Senator made clear that regardless of the hullabaloo from either side of the health care debate she is focused on some basic problems and solutions for North Carolinians in health reform:

First, a projection that a health care plan in 2016 will cost $26,000 for a family of four just doesn’t work in North Carolina where our median income in $39,000. Just this one fact highlights the urgency of making reform happen.

Second, a she supports a public health care option that doesn’t add to the deficit and that can provide an alternative for people in a fiscally responsible way.

Third, insurance companies must be prevented from not covering pre-existing illnesses and that we need more emphasis on wellness and prevention.

Not everyone may be happy with Senator Hagan’s goals for health reform. However, she’s clearly thought long and hard about the problems we face in North Carolina and what solutions will work and can pass through Congress. This may not please everyone or appease those yelling and making outrageous claims at some health care meetings. However, the Senator has an eye on something more important – what’s best for all North Carolinians.


  1. Alex

    August 26, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    My health care costs doubled overnight with changes in the State Employees Plan. With a new diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis we are spending 60% of our income on my health care. This week I told a Neurologist I could not afford an eeg to find out why I am having seizures because I have to pay 100% and the hospital can’t tell me what that amount is.

    We did not qualify for refinancing of our house or cash for clunkers.
    We have been fiscally responsible. We have no credit card debt. We live pay check to pay check. Now an illness will bankrupt us.

    If Kay Hagan does not vote for Health Care Reform because of the deficits, which are high for many other reasons, she will be helping more North Carolinians like us into bankruptcy. Is that best for North Carolina?

  2. Kimberly

    August 26, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I just wrote an article for a major newspaper that shows the costs for private health insurance and high risk health insurance for a family of 7 with pre-existing conditions. It also explains why Health Reform with a Public Health plan is a necessity for families with multiple children with severe and expensive special health care needs. I am waiting to see if they will accept the article as is or are going to edit it down. You all know the facts and figures of private health insurance and high risk insurance and when you do the math, it is completely unaffordable. I am glad that Senator Hagan is supporting Health Reform and I hope and pray that she follows through with her support and votes for Health Reform to include a Public Health Plan option along with the many other measures such as regulation of private health insurance. Health Reform with a subsidized Public Health Plan option is the only hope that families like ours have of obtaining, and affording, health insurance and health care for the parents.

  3. […] Read more from the original source:  The Progressive Pulse – Senator Hagan's Leadership […]

  4. Kills more than H1N1

    August 26, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    meanwhile there is a bigger killer out there: MRSA

    details at: http://www.worldmrsaday.org/

  5. […] the original:  The Progressive Pulse – Senator Hagan's Leadership This entry is filed under Leadership. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS […]

  6. […] The rest is here:  The Progressive Pulse – Senator Hagan's Leadership […]

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  8. Steve Harrison

    August 27, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Good piece, Adam.

    On this issue like many others, Kay took her time before taking a position. And like other issues, she took some heat for not immediately jumping on one or the other bandwagon. She arrived at a position that many of her more seasoned and Liberal colleagues are now waffling over, that being the need for a public option, and I think (hope) she will stick with it.

    It’s probably still too early to try to assign any Progressive “metrics” to Senator Hagan, but my gut tells me she’ll do well when we do.

  9. […] The Progressive Pulse – Senator Hagan’s Leadership pulse.ncpolicywatch.org/2009/08/26/senator-hagans-leadership – view page – cached As a new Senator, NC’s Kay Hagan was dropped into one of the most volatile policy debates in years shortly after she joined the US Senate. Not only was she assigned to the Senate Health Committee in charge of drafting a substantial part of the health insurance reform legislation, but she was just elected from what is now clearly a swing state with a rapidly shifting and now very high-pressure political climate. — From the page […]

  10. Betty Hurst

    August 28, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I moved to N.C. in 2002 and have worked since then for a small non-profit where I have a group health insurance policy; in these 8 years, my employer and I have paid in more than $56,000 in premiums to United Health Care for my individual high-deductible policy. Fortunately, I have used only $200 (although this does not count the $6000+ I have had to pay myself for regular colonoscopies during this time.) When I leave my employment, I will not be able to afford any private policy (I am 62 and have the dreaded “pre-existing condition), I will not see a red cent of any refund from the $56,000 that United Health now enjoys, and I will join the 47 million other Americans without a shred of insurance – after having paid into insurance for more than 40 years! Would somebody tell me why anyone thinks this is a good system? Yes, somebody has to pay. The question is where should the money go – to the fat profits of insurance companies who produce NO PRODUCT?? As T.R. Reid says, “There is no reason why insurance companies need to even be in business. If they went away, no product of substance would be lost.” I would rather pay the government my $600/month and know that I cannot be dropped and that my neighbor has the same comfort. We are better people than recent yapping would have us believe. We showed our better side last November and we must do it again NOW! I commend Sen. Hagan for her concern and urge her to support universal coverage and a simple single payer reform. Kudos to Rep. Price as well! I wish I could say the same for Rep. Shuler.

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