Monday, January 31, 2011

NCGA: Press Conference on HB 2 Protect Health Care Freedom

Today Representative Verla Insko held a press conference at the General Assembly to give the Democratic response to HB 2: Protect Health Care Freedom. This bill if signed into law would add North Carolina to the 28 state law suit against the health care reform act. It would exempt North Carolina from participating in the individual mandate coverage as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The reality of health insurance is the larger the insurance pool the more access there is to affordable health care for people with disabilities, pre-existing conditions and long term care needs. By mandating that all Americans have health insurance you create a large insurance pool. This is why the Affordable Care Act was able to remove pre-existing condition exemption, the cap on long term health expenditures, the ability to keep your child on your health insurance to age 26 and specifically for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities off a habilitation option in all base insurance plans.

The Arc of the US and its partner organizations worked tirelessly for the passage of this historic health care reform. People with developmental disabilities in 2014 will be able to secure their own affordable health insurance and in doing so quiet possibly lessen the need for full state assistance in long term care.

Then there is the reality of the health care crisis in North Carolina. Dr. Charles Van Der Horst stated that 1/3 of patients in hospitals in North Carolina today do not have health insurance. The cost of their care then transfers to those patients who do have insurance. The end result is an annual increase in health care costs of 9%.

Another speaker at today’s press conference, Libby Huff, told the story of her daughter who in 2009 was diagnosed with a genetic cardiac condition. The Huff family, for the most part, have always been self –insured. On average this family of four has paid out 18 thousand a year to be able to protect their family from catastrophic illness. In 2009 their daughter, while in the high school bathroom, suffered a heart attack. Thanks to an on site defibrillator this young woman was successfully transported to a hospital and after significant cardiac surgery survived this episode only to be diagnosed with a genetic heart condition. Under current health insurance it would be virtually impossible for her to secure affordable and accessible health insurance. However, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act she will be able to remain on her parents health insurance until the age of 26 and in 2014 she will be able to purchase health insurance for herself due to the removal of the pre-existing clause in current health insurance policies.

House Bill 2 would mean that for 4 million North Carolinians they would continue to be locked our of affordable health insurance because of their pre-existing conditions.

House Bill 2 will continue to move through the House over the next few days. We expect to see it hit the House floor sometime this week. We will continue to montior its progress and we will continue to cover this issue.

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