I often get calls from people who want to know where an affordable health plan might be available. They can’t get coverage through their job and are sure that something more affordable must be out there than NC Blue Cross’s individual policies.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any other real options for people to get really affordable coverage if they aren’t 25 and in great health. Hopefully, the new state health insurance high risk pool will be an option for a few (estimates are 9,000 out of 1.3 million uninsured may sign up), but that doesn’t start for about a year and it will be expensive.
I sighed with relief this week though at another option that I can now suggest for the worried. Just join the Cary Town Council.
Apparently, after you serve two terms you qualify for subsidized health coverage under the town plan for life! Talk about legacy costs.
After all, what is the moral choice here? Suppose you had a history of cancer or high blood pressure or some other major problem that 1. Made it impossible for you to afford coverage and 2. Made it likely you would die if you didn’t get health coverage and treatment. This is the case for millions in this country today. Would it be right to convince Cary development interests to bankroll your campaign (a frequent problem in Cary), get elected and vote the “right” way to keep the money flowing until you can qualify for the health plan?
It’s a classic in moral philosophy. Would you really condemn the starving war hero who stole a loaf of bread to stay alive? What’s worse – lying to the voters and development interests about your motivation for getting elected or dying because you can’t afford basic health coverage?
OK, OK, so it’s a bit academic. I mean, how many people can get elected to the Town Council? However, it does point out what a silly system we have for health coverage. If you manage to join a group either through work or some other method, you often can get affordable coverage. Not so lucky? Then too bad.
Overall though, until we have affordable health plans available to everyone, I don’t think elected officials at whatever level should get subsidized health coverage. There are 1.3 million people paying taxes in North Carolina to help their elected leaders get health coverage they can’t afford for themselves. And that’s not right.