Want to know which side your legislator is on? Watch today’s vote on the health insurance exchange.

There are those defining issues raised in the General Assembly every so often that pit the state’s most powerful interest groups against the needs of consumers and average citizens. The vote on today’s health benefits exchange is one such issue.

Health reform requires that North Carolina establish a health exchange, although we do not need to pass legislation this session. Blue Cross and Blue Shield was quick to pounce, getting their friends in the General Assembly to sponsor a bill crafted by the company’s attorneys.

This legislation stacks the board governing the exchange with interests that either opposed health reform or are seeking to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This bill puts those groups in charge of implementing reform in the state. This bill strips the exchange of any ability to adapt to changing market conditions. It takes away all ability to provide value to consumers. It is, in short, an insult.

This has nothing to do with political party and everything to do with access.

Consumer groups have pleaded with legislators — Democrat and Republican — not to blatently harm their constituents at the behest of these interest groups. It is astounding how hard you have to work to convince even a small clutch of lawmakers to vote the interests of average people. We don’t enjoy access and we don’t host lavish fundraisers.

All we have on our side are justice, determination, long memories, and a lot of people. After all, every consumer group in the state, and this is a remarkable thing, every consumer group in the state opposes this exchange bill. Every editorial has opposed this bill. Every poll shows broad opposition to this bill.

We haven’t heard anything on the exchange from the Governor’s office. After a brief stab at compromise, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin also has been mum on the issue of the health exchange. His office has said it won’t oppose anything the General Assembly cooks up.

So, here we are. A radically anti-consumer exchange bill will likely pass the House today. The only thing standing between you and a health care system dominated by insurance companies in perpetuity is the Senate and the Governor and the resistance of the people.

3 Comments

  1. Alex O.

    May 25, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I feel sick beyond belief. I have known the truth all a long but it still makes me sick a corporation can write a law to benefit itself and the Legislature would just shove it through against the will and the interest of the people.

    I have an idea why not have BCBSNC pay for the legislators health plan. Since they are employees of this company and not working for North Carolinians.

  2. feefee

    May 25, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    They the legislature is sitting here worried about health care bill. When it’s thousands of people that are going to loose everything they have from losing their unemploment last month. Why not deal with people who have children and don’t know where your next meal is comimg from? Where are they going to be staying by next week or if their even going to have a place to stay this should be the first issue at hand!!!!

  3. Single Payer Action

    May 25, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    its a travesty