Adam Searing, Director of the NC Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition, has added some needed perspective for North Carolinians to the current challenges plaguing the federal Health Insurance Marketplace. He points out that state-run health insurance exchanges are functioning well and successfully enrolling thousands of people. North Carolina also had this opportunity, but when the NC General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory chose to turn away Medicaid expansion, they also rejected a state-run health marketplace.
Back then, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, Representative Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), said “Clearly, the best thing for our state is to have a state-directed exchange [marketplace] as opposed to leaving it to the federal government and getting a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all program.” And state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin (D) explained why a state exchange was better than the federal one when he said, “So basically the consumer, when they could have easily, quickly done what they do now, which is contact us … will be calling 1-800-WASHINGTONDC [to talk to] someone that doesn’t know North Carolina, doesn’t know our people, doesn’t have accountability to respond quickly.”
Even though the struggling federal marketplace is a legitimate concern which warrants attention, let’s not forget that our legislature chose to put North Carolina in the position of being dependent on the federal marketplace. Adam Searing’s blog suggests that it would be equally as legitimate to direct our anger and frustration at those who legislated away our state’s ability to tailor a marketplace to meet the needs of our people.
Read more of Searing’s blog here.