A copy of the “repeal health care” bill the NC GOP plans to pass as a top priority next week is making the rounds. It’s pretty simple – the idea is to exempt North Carolinians from the federal health reform law’s requirement that most people (unless you are low income, can’t find affordable insurance, have religious objections, etc.) have to purchase health insurance.
National health reform won’t work without this provision. We can’t prevent insurance companies from denying or charging people more because of pre-existing health conditions without it. Why? If you could wait until you were really sick to buy health coverage then many people wouldn’t buy health coverage until they got sick. That’s like allowing people to buy fire insurance when their house starts to burn down. I don’t like paying that big insurance premium on my house coverage every year, but I don’t think anyone would think it fair if I could just not pay that premium and only purchase coverage when disaster struck.
So, remove the responsibility requirement that healthy people have to purchase health coverage before they get sick and the system can’t work. Only sick people will buy coverage, premiums will skyrocket, and we can no longer require insurers to stop charging people more or denying coverage because of pre-existing health conditions.
Of course, NC GOPers don’t have to worry about not being able to buy coverage. As I’ve said before again and again, NC General Assembly members are the only part-time workers in the state who qualify for 100% taxpayer-subsidized health coverage. And, in a special benefit not available to other state workers either, a member of the General Assembly for any length of time can buy into the state health plan at actual cost for life – and not be charged more or denied because of a pre-existing health condition.
So what’s good for them isn’t what’s good for us. Funny how that works on Jones Street.