NC HEALTH REPORT: Take Action Now on the NC Health Exchange Bill -- Fix it or stop it!

April 7, 2011
By Adam Searing and Adam Linker

STOP THE BLUE CROSS BILL FREIGHT TRAIN TO GUT NC HEALTH REFORM: The new version of H115, Blue Cross’ anti-competitive health marketplace bill, is so bad that without major change it needs to be stopped in its tracks. The bill will come up for an expected swift passage in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday, April 12 and then shortly thereafter will move to the House floor for final approval.

EMAIL OR CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR!

Send an email to your State House and Senate members (click here to send them a quick email)

And/or call your State House Representative (click here to find out their name and phone number)

Tell them H115 FAILS TO PROTECT CONSUMERS BECAUSE:

  1. Health insurers will be allowed to regulate themselves.

  2. The bill doesn’t allow the exchange to force health insurers to offer easy-to-understand plans that will allow apples to apples comparisons so consumers can get the best price.

  3. The bill creates a new tax on individuals and small businesses to fund the exchange.

The gory details:

FOX GUARDING HENHOUSE: At least two seats on the Exchange board are reserved specifically for health insurers – so health insurers will still be regulating themselves. With no conflict of interest language preventing those with a connection to the health insurance industry from serving on the board, at least five other seats of the 11 member board could be – and likely will be - filled by insurance industry-affiliated experts or insurance agents.

CHOOSE WHICH BLUE CROSS PLAN YOU LIKE BEST: The bill declaws the consumer watchdog role of the exchange by preventing the exchange from requiring plans only be offered that meet consumer-friendly requirements like being easy to compare and offering easy-to-understand benefits. NC Blue Cross now controls 80% of the small business market and 96% of the individual market in NC. Without a strong consumer watchdog exchange, this monopoly is unlikely to be challenged and consumers will continue to have little real choice.

NEW TAX: Now the exchange is funded in part with, unbelievably, a new tax on individuals and small businesses who buy coverage in the exchange.

SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR INSURERS: A new appeals process is established by the bill with rights of appeal internally and to the courts. But this appeals process isn’t for consumers! That’s right, it’s for insurance companies who don’t like a decision of the exchange.

ADVERTISING: Insurers are now authorized to buy advertising on the exchange. So the consumer watchdog function of the health exchange – where consumers are supposed to be able to actually compare plans – will be for sale to the highest bidder.

THE NC HEALTH EXCHANGE/MARKETPLACE INFORMATION HUB:

http://www.responsiblehealthcarenc.org

EMAIL OR CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR!

Send an email to your State House and Senate members (click here to send them a quick email)

And/or call your State House Representative (click here to find out their name and phone number)

 

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