MEDIA RELEASE: Health care individual mandate lowers costs, protects 4 million North Carolinians

 Undermining health care law would increase costs, put insurance coverage for 4 million North Carolinians at risk, new report finds

Today, NC GOP are hearing a bill on repeal of a key reform that reduces costs and protects millions
 
RALEIGH (Jan. 27, 2011) -- On the same day that North Carolina Republicans are hearing a bill on repeal of the individual health insurance mandate in committee, a new report shows that the individual mandate will protect 4 million North Carolinians.
 
In addition to preventing millions from losing coverage, the individual mandate prevents health insurance premiums from rising 27 percent by 2019, the report says.
 
“The individual mandate will make insurance fairer and more affordable,” said Adam Linker of the NC Health Access Coalition, author of the report. “Repealing it would increase costs and put insurance coverage for 4 million North Carolinians at risk.”
 
The responsibility for most people to purchase an insurance plan is an important piece of health reform that makes it possible to ban the practice of denying insurance to people based on their medical history.
 
Approximately 4 million North Carolinians suffer from a pre-existing condition using insurance industry definitions used to reject applications or charge higher premiums, the report finds. Approximately 1.5 million North Carolinians suffer from a pre-existing condition severe enough to prompt an automatic rejection for coverage.
 
The individual mandate requires that everyone who can find affordable coverage purchase a policy. This helps cover the cost of care at emergency rooms, which must treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. It also keeps premiums affordable for everyone. 
 
“Protecting the health of North Carolina’s people is a tremendous investment in our state’s future,” Linker said. “Undermining this law also undermines prosperity for all of us.”
 
The report is available online at: http://www.ncjustice.org/?q=node/688
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, director of communications, 503.551.3615; Adam Linker, 919.861.2074.
 
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