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Will NC state legislators who vote against health reform give up their own free taxpayer-funded health coverage?

GOPers taking over the NC House and Senate this month have indicated that one of their first priorities is passing a bill “exempting” North Carolina from the benefits of the new national health law.  Strange they want to take away from older adults the 50% discount on brand name drugs in Medicare, take away from parents the ability to keep their adult children on their own insurance plans up to age 26, eliminate the new affordable high risk pool for people with pre-existing health conditions, get rid of the requirement that health insurers spend at least 80% of their premiums on actual health care services and so on, but I guess GOPers feel someone must sacrifice.

Of course, NC state legislators don’t have to worry about their own health insurance, so they can feel OK about voting against affordable coverage for the rest of us.  Despite being part-time workers, every NC legislator qualifies to receive completely free tax-payer subsidized health coverage for themselves through the NC State Health Plan.  No other part-time state worker has that right.  And that’s not all.  NC legislators also uniquely qualify to buy into the State Health Plan at the basic rate after they leave the General Assembly.  For someone who is older or has a pre-existing health condition, this is a valuable right.

So, when the NC General Assembly convenes this month and starts off with a vote on taking away health care protections from people in NC, I hope that the state legislators who vote against health coverage for the rest of us also decline their own fully state-funded health coverage and pledge not to sign up for affordable state coverage after they leave office.  After all, they want to deny those protections for the rest of us, so it would be hypocritical to enjoy great health benefits themselves.

8 Comments

  1. anthonytuner

    January 5, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Starting this year your child (or children) cannot be denied coverage simply because they have a pre-existing health condition. If you don’t have insurance for you and your children search “Wise Health Insurance” online they are the best.

  2. Neutral Party

    January 5, 2011 at 11:00 am

    While you argue that they are receiving “free” health insurance, isn’t it really part of the compensation package that goes with this underpaid job?

  3. HunterC

    January 5, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Shouldn’t legislators who are “high risk” be forced to buy from the high risk pool?

    Is the high risk pool rate more than the State Health plan basic rate?

  4. Adam Searing

    January 5, 2011 at 11:41 am

    yes, the risk pool rate is likely higher, and the coverage is limited compared to the state health plan

    and yes, it’s nice that state legislators get a compensation package that includes taxpayer-paid $0 premium health insurance for what is a part-time job – a benefit that no other part-time state worker gets by the way, so it would be nice if they treated themselves like all other part-time state workers and didn’t give themselves special benefits….

  5. Underpaid state employee

    January 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    I am also an underpaid part time state employee, but I only have the option of personally buying into the State Heath plan at a group rate, while I am employed by the state.

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  7. […] part-time state employees are eligible for free coverage. We agree with NC Policy Watch blogger Adam Searing, who wrote: Strange they want to take away from older adults the 50% discount on brand name drugs in […]

  8. Katimae

    April 5, 2011 at 8:33 am

    “While you argue that they are receiving “free” health insurance, isn’t it really part of the compensation package that goes with this underpaid job?”

    Yes, it is part of the compensation package of their underpaid job. Just like it was part of the compensation package offered to me when I became part of the school system and began my own underpaid job. However, now the legislature has voted to take away this compensation, reducing my already low salary. I agree that they should reduce their own compensation as well. The teachers in North Carolina aren’t riding some gravy train that needs trimming. We have consistently done more work for less money for quite some time now. Salaries have been frozen for several years, and now our paychecks are being REDUCED to pay for insurance we were given free when hired. This vote puts a large population of hard-working North Carolinians in a difficult position. What will teachers do? What would you do if you got more responsibilities every year, increasing pressure for accountability on tests, multiple redesigned evaluation systems, less money for your school and your classroom, and a smaller paycheck. Would you want to stay in the job for the sake of the students? Or would you look for another way to feed your family? I expect many teachers will be making that difficult decision, and I will be disgusted if the legislature acts surprised when our experienced teachers head elsewhere.