Obamacare here to stay for NC

As someone who has spent his professional career working towards the goal of quality, affordable health coverage for everyone, President Obama’s convincing victory last night was a huge milestone.  The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is here to stay.  It was a long, hard road to achieve this goal that began with an enormously divisive debate and ended with a Supreme Court approval and an electorate that, while still divided on many issues, in the end supported the President on health care.

What happened?  Obamacare isn’t the perfect law on health reform, but more and more people realized the benefits of the law already in place from help with prescription drugs for seniors to tax credits for small businesses, health insurance rebates, and the banning of pre-existing condition exclusions for kids.  And the promise of new affordable health plans was too clear to ignore.  Simply put, it became clear that Obamacare puts us on the right track to reform our health system.

One part of our work on health care here is to go around North Carolina and talk to people about their health care.  After the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, we began to see a change in the questions people would ask and the concerns they had.  Rather than jumping into partisan talking points over non-existent phantom taxes and trumped-up “death panels,” people were ready to talk about how to move forward to make the law work better.

It was almost as if people were relieved Obamacare had made the question of whether we should make sure everyone could afford health care moot.  Now we could talk about real questions around how to improve the quality of care we all receive, how to best contain health costs and how to make sure our rural areas have enough doctors, nurses and other professionals to make our communities as strong as they can be.

To be sure North Carolina still faces some big questions as we move forward, the first being whether we will be one of the majority of states who will expand Medicaid under Obamacare, thus helping our rural hospitals and rural communities while we bring $20 billion into the state to help health care providers care for 500,000 of our fellow citizens.  The policy benefits are too big to ignore here and my guess is that we will do the expansion, if only because the consequences for NC are so stark if we don’t.  No North Carolina politician of either party will be too happy at the prospect of billions of dollars of money that should be coming to NC being diverted to states like New York and Massachusetts.

The other question for our state will be how we set up a new health exchange where small businesses and individuals who don’t get coverage though their work can buy affordable health plans.  Thankfully, NC’s Insurance Commissioner, Wayne Goodwin, was convincingly reelected.  His support for consumers in a variety of areas, including health care, bodes well for a state-based exchange that will work for consumers and not insurance companies.

While we face the hard work of implementation, Obamacare is here to stay.

10 Comments

  1. Frank Burns

    November 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

    You alluded to Obamacare is not perfect, that is an understatement. It is not affordable in its current state. Do you think there will be any motivation to fix it?

    NC has to be very careful about expanding Medicare or in establishing health exchanges. These will impose huge burdens on the taxpayers once the federal subsidies stop.

  2. Adam Searing

    November 7, 2012 at 10:48 am

    It’s expanding Medicaid, not Medicare, and the federal government will pay 93% of the costs and is obligated under the ACA to keep doing that. NC – like any other state – can eliminate any Medicaid expansion it does under Obamacare any time it likes. So, if there were no more federal subsidies for Medicaid, NC could stop providing coverage.

  3. Frances Jenkins

    November 7, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Small businesses across NC are now trying to figure how many employees will receive pink slips .

  4. Doug Gibson

    November 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    And why would that be, Frances?

    In your answer, give

    a) the expected average cost to a small business of insuring an employee,
    b) the average annual salaries of the owners of these businesses who plan to fire their workers rather than help them get insurance, and
    c) a rationale for why people who work for a living should not have access to affordable health insurance.

    For extra credit, explain why you prefer that the community at large, rather than employers, should pay for the medical expenses of those without insurance—while at the same time opposing a single-payer healthcare system.

  5. Medicare Delaware

    November 8, 2012 at 3:16 am

    Obama is going to implement Obama care through out the country. This is very helpful to every one but i am worried about economy.

  6. Rebecca

    November 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The federal gov’t will pay for 93%……where do you think they are getting that $? The taxpayers. And why the bad attitude towards business owners? The reality is when we put a strain on the owners, they have to make choices to cut employees so they can survive. I am sure most businesses would love to expand and hire more and provide ins. coverage if they weren’t so worried about being taxed.

    We should be thankful for business owners, they provide jobs and good and services for us all. Now, with the impending cost and tax hikes, they are downsizing. Regardless, whether they are wrong or right, this is the reaction we are seeing as a result of Obamacare and the increased taxes. Maybe they are wrong, they are still responding with pink slips.

    We are so quick to defend the president, he’s fine, he’s set for life. I am concerned about the reality of my future and our fellow countrymen, both liberal and conservative. He doesn’t need our defense, we need to look at the truth even if it means admitting he missed it. He is a bright man, he will survive Free thinking Americans

    There has to be a better way. I can barely afford our insurance now, I can’t imagine putting in for 30 million.

  7. John Barry

    November 13, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I am on Medicare. I will start getting less coverage and have to pay more. I am paying for Obama care and not geting anything for it. This is unfair. Living in North Carolina I can not get a Medicare supplement at a discount because I am not 65. Again unfair,

  8. Ncstate Employee

    November 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    I have been a NC temp employee for the last 10 years. I look at Obamacare as the reason my position will become a contracted position by this time next year.

  9. Adam Searing

    November 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Under Obamacare Medicare is already providing more benefits – like annual wellness visits, no more co-pays for preventive services, and drastically decreasing the costs of drugs.

  10. Barb.

    November 21, 2012 at 6:29 am

    Obama care? Why do we need thus. I thought I lived in the united states of America . I beleive I have a right to choose what healthcare. I don’t need it puck fur me , if thr Medicare people need it then use it for that person.
    I feel my right To choose what type if healthcare I want. ( we still have freedom if speech)
    Unde the new law ” do people know what’s going to happen” Each hostipal had a board of 10-20 retired doctors an they review you’d cases for surgery ifs a younger person maybe in the firthys v/s a child comes in next , the younger will get taken first to surgery the older ones have no value .
    This sucks! This Needs To Be Reprelled
    You are not getting anything for free, remember that! Also you will be taxed on any equipment ( ( like a hip transplant. I guess the President lied again, He said we would be sble to keep our pie insurance .
    What happened to that / or is that part of his memory lost too as well as Bengazi?
    I don’t trust a word this man says? Read sn think. We want it I should be protected under my civil liberties… This is the land of FREEDOM”.