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Commissioner Goodwin leads on Health Marketplace debate

Today NC Blue Cross’ bill (H115) on the health insurance marketplace/exchange was brought up in the House Health Committee and was hit with a major downshift in speed and a significant improvement in debate.  Leading the charge for individuals and small businesses in the packed committee room was NC’s Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin.

Goodwin presented to the committee the outline of a potential compromise proposal on governing the new NC Health Marketplace.  Rather than allowing insurers on the board of the marketplace, Goodwin’s idea is to have a core board of experts in health care economics, markets and policy – all without financial conflicts of interest (like working for a health insurance company).  He would then set up several official board advisory committees to the Marketplace:  one of insurers, one of providers, one of consumers, one of businesses, etc., who would all offer their expertise to the board through individual ex-officio non-voting members.

From the consumer advocacy perspective, this is an interesting step.  The devil is always in the details, but Goodwin’s leadership in suggesting reasonable ideas for compromise is a very positive development.  Clearly the Commissioner has been listening to all points of view on the contentious issue of governance of the Marketplace and is proposing a way forward.

Of course, the details of what ability the Marketplace will have to offer consumers a real choice of competing health plans – and not just a “pick which Blue Cross plan you like the most” option is another important detail that only started to receive discussion in the committee.  Representative Verla Insko – sponsor of the Institute of Medicine compromise bill on the marketplace –  and Representative Jennifer Weiss  began to highlight the importance of that issue in the committee and will clearly be in the lead in making sure any new marketplace actually works for consumers.

The other significant development in the committee was the acknowledgment by many members of the legislature that the health care marketplace issue is the most significant piece of health care legislation to be considered this year.  Therefore, Representative Dollar, Chair of the Health Committee, announced that they would take time to work on the legislation and that it would not come up for at least another two weeks.  This is a big change from the previous fast track Blue Cross’ bill had been on.

Is there hope for creating a decent Health Marketplace in NC that isn’t dominated by NC Blue Cross?  We’ll see, but right now things are starting to perhaps move in the right direction.  Stay tuned.

31 Comments

  1. Louie

    March 8, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I miss Kaiser….

  2. Louie

    March 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Interesting article “Massachsetts Reform Hasnt Stopped Medical Bankruptcies”

    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2011/march/massachusetts-reform-hasnt-stopped-medical-bankruptcies-harvard-study.

    doesnt bode well for PPACA or the ‘health insurance exchange’ the powers that be in the sickness biz discussed this AM on Jones Street.

    Fee-for-service reimbursement is unsustainable.

  3. Louie

    March 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) is being spun as the answer to our problems of health care access, costs and quality. But the dirty little secret is that the reform effort has been stolen by the very corporate interests that have perpetuated and profited from these problems for years. The result is a bailout of a failing insurance industry and a bonanza for Wall Street. Most Americans and Main Street lose once again. The need for real health care reform remains urgent,” said Dr. John Geyman, author of Hijacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform.

    Is health care “reform” 2010 better than nothing? Dr. Geyman warns of soaring costs, no price controls, and more Americans going without necessary health care. This is our future in the aftermath of Health Care “Reform” 2010, guided by a failing industry bailed out by new government subsidies. This well-documented book charts a path to that end. Hijacked: The Road to Single Payer in the Aftermath of Stolen Health Care Reform is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand how our health care system got this way and what we can do about it.

  4. […] Commissioner Goodwin leads on Health Marketplace debate […]

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  17. Oly

    March 9, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Lovely, kind ladies — Reps.Insko and Weiss — working hard for ordinary people, who are choking with the health-ins.’ball and chain’ around their necks!

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  31. […] of Medicine, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin offered a third way forward, reports Adam Searing: Goodwin presented to the committee the outline of a potential compromise proposal on […]