#NCGA: The weather vane strategy on govt meddling in health care
Ask any Republican legislator in Raleigh — or any Republican serving in the Congress — and they will tell you they don’t like that BAD ObamaCare and they want it to go away. (Never mind how so many of them — like Renee Ellmers, Robert Pittenger, and Richard Burr, publicly poo-pooed efforts to defund that monstrosity.)
In 2012, the honorables on Jones Street made national news by saying ‘Nooooo Thank You’ to cash from Barry Obama to set up government health care exchanges. House speaker Thom Tillis was a bit of a spectator in the debate. (After all, he tried to push through a state health exchange in 2011.)
Tillis just won a US Senate primary where he was seemingly all over the map on health care. Remember his work in 2011? He evolved early in the campaign to ‘fixing’ ObamaCare. Then, he went to ‘repealing and replacing.’ Then, we just got ‘repeal’ — which apparently worked for the chunk of low-info voters who showed up on May 6.
Now comes word that we have a bunch of Republicans on Jones Street pushing for more mandates on health insurance providers:
North Carolina insurance policy holders will pick up $10.5 million in additional premium costs if a bill requiring expanded coverage of chiropractic services recommended April 21 by a legislative study committee is approved in the General Assembly’s short session opening this week.
Critics of the health mandate to lower patients’ co-pays for chiropractic services from the current, higher specialist rates say Senate Bill 561 would entice other specialists, such as physical and occupational therapists, to seek similar payment parity. That would shift more costs from individual patients to all insurance consumers.
The chiropractic co-pay parity bill is one of 10 insurance mandates the General Assembly is expected to consider this session.
If state lawmakers pass bills requiring insurance companies to provide that extra coverage, the higher costs could make insurance policies unaffordable for small businesses, and workers could lose their employer-paid policies, opponents of the mandates say. Mandates force insurers to cover specific treatments or services in every policy they sell, making coverage cost more.
These state-imposed mandates are in addition to coverage mandates required by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“North Carolina has 55 mandates already, just one behind California, 13th most in the country,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina spokesman Lew Borman. “Passing the mandates currently under consideration would move us into the Top 10 in the country,” Borman said, past California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont, “driving premiums even higher.”
It sounds great to campaign on the fact that you FORCED that bad insurance company to pay that sick baby’s medical bills in full. But, news flash: Insurance companies are businesses too. If you force them to pay OUT more money, they have to find a way to bring IN more money. So, costs go up for all of us.
*Nice.* And it gets *better*:
[…] If all those mandates were passed into law, “We would see the majority of small businesses that are covering employees with health care coverage probably drop their insurance because the insurance companies would have to absorb some of that [cost] and pass some of it on,” said Gregg Thompson, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses/North Carolina.
If insurers passed along all the costs, “they would probably lose all of their small business [clients] because it is such an expense,” Thompson said.
Among other health mandates being considered in the short session, three deal with vision services, House Bill 511, and Senate Bills 477 and 644. House Bill 498 targets autism, and House Bill 609 deals with oral chemotherapy.
Senate Bills 364 and 570 address electronic prescription rules; House Bill 740 covers athletic and sports trainers, and Senate Bill 572 would require insurers to screen newborns for Krabbe Disease.
Hmmm. Autism? That reminds us. Speaker Thom pushed through the House in January a mandate increasing coverage for autism patients. His Senate campaign took money from lobbyists for the Autism Society — a BIG supporter of ObamaCare, by the way. Tillis even wore the organization’s logo on his jacket lapel in TV ads while attacking Kay Hagan for her support of ObamaCare.
Defenders of the autism bill pushed by Theam Tillis point to a small business exception that allows businesses with less than 50 employees to opt out of the mandate if it increases their costs by more than one percent. Well, that’s nice. But the mandate STILL jacks up the costs for the insurance companies which then get passed on to the rest of us. MORE:
The raft of insurance mandate bills have a host of Republican primary sponsors, even though the GOP-controlled General Assembly has made reducing mandates and regulations a top priority to relieve small businesses from burdensome regulations and stimulate the economy.
“A lot of conservative Republicans support the autism bill in particular,” Unumb said. “There is tremendous support from conservatives all over the country,” and Republican presidential aspirants Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas signed autism bills into law, and later signed expansions.
“There’s an economic tsunami that’s going to hit the state of North Carolina unless the autism issue is dealt with,” Unumb said. “It just makes sense” from a cost-benefit perspective.
“When you’ve got a child with autism who can’t function, a lot of these children are headed to a lifetime of institutionalization, and will become wards of the state at taxpayer expense unless we get in there and give them the intervention and treatment that they need” to become, if not working, tax-paying, productive members of society, at least less expensive to care for, Unumb said.
“It’s an emotional issue with parents with autistic children, or cancer patients that need oral chemo,” Thompson said.
But small business owners with thin profit margins are faced with the choice of discontinuing health care insurance for their employees entirely, or eliminating employer coverage and implementing a defined-contribution system, providing employees a set amount of money to offset the costs of purchasing individual health plans, Thompson said.
Companies also face less-desirable alternatives, including raising the costs of their products, making them less competitive, or shedding jobs so that the company hires fewer workers than the 50-employee trigger under which Obamacare requires employers to provide coverage, Thompson said. Business owners can do this either by shifting some employees to part-time status or laying off enough to fall below the threshold.
Shameful. Just a slightly different flavor of the statism that ran our state into the ground. If this is conservative revolution, then ‘None for me, thanks.’
3 thoughts on “#NCGA: The weather vane strategy on govt meddling in health care”
These bills will seperate the Big Government Republicans from the Small Government Republicans. ”Mandate” is another term for government thuggery.
And while we are considering mandates, what about the Renewable Energy Mandate that is costing electric customers billions in higher rates? Can we expect relief in the form of repeal in the short session? From talking to legislators, it would be doable to repeal the mandate this session, but the main roadblock is certified Big Government Republican Thom Tillis. That is just one reason of many for conservatives to sit out the Senate race.
These jokers… I dont think they’d know a free market if it walked up and slapped them upside their head… yep, there’s no reason to support this nonsense – you’re just telling them it’s OK, and there are no consequences to be incurred for their big government ways.
The (R) team in charge here (and federally) seems mostly no different than the (D) team… “a slightly different flavor” is exactly right. *shakes head* With friends like these…
The GOP brainiacs in Raleigh seem determined to hand the gavel to the Democrats in November. They’re doing a great job of it too.
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