Monday, March 7, 2011

What is the N.C. Republican Plan?

Governor Perdue vetoed H2 on Saturday because she said the bill to declare that the individual mandate does not apply in North Carolina was at odds with the U.S. Constitution, not needed because the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is already being litigated, and because of unintended consequences related to Medicaid funding. Senator Berger, Republican leader in the N.C. Senate says that:

"There’s no doubt this veto is a political move designed to protect the interests of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Washington Democrats. But it hurts North Carolinians by forcing them to follow an unconstitutional law. The people of North Carolina expect their leaders to change the course of state government, not score political points or protect their political patrons.”

I would like to say amen to Sen. Berger's last sentence. Toward that end, Senator Berger and the Republican leadership in the N.C. General Assembly have been very clear about what they are against. It is now time for them to be clear about what they are for in the realm of health policy.

They look poised to pass a medical malpractice reform that would limit non economic damages to $500,000 and make it very difficult to sue Emergency Room doctors (raise the standard to gross negligence, such as being drunk at work, from standard negligence).

Is that it on health policy?

If the ACA goes away, what is the plan of the N.C. Republicans? Similarly, what is the plan of the national Republican party for a replace bill? I have written with suggestions of what an overall compromise could look like that attempts to expand coverage rates while addressing costs as the ACA does. Does Senator Berger (or anyone else in the state) have a better way to expand coverage while addressing costs? Further, I have noted a potential route forward within the ACA framework using a Medicaid and a 1332 ACA waiver.

Maybe these are not great ideas and the N.C. Republicans have better ones. The people of North Carolina desperately need to hear whatever health reform ideas they have.

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