Senate Republicans play politics with school safety, tried to use bill to dismantle health care coverage for preexisting conditions

In June 2018 Senate Republicans surprised the public with new portions of a school safety bill that would alter insurance laws. 

The changes would allow membership groups and nonprofits to offer health insurance plans that were exempt from state oversight and from ACA regulations

The changed law would have allowed these plans to exclude or charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions

According to NC Health News, the plans offered in NC would be similar to some offered in Tennessee where ACA premiums have “climbed precipitously” due to these unregulated plans. 

Senate Republicans voted in favor of allowing health insurance plans that cherry-pick healthy enrollees and leave sicker people in the market, causing everyone’s premiums to skyrocket. 

Though the House rejected this change, days later the House Republicans again blocked Medicaid expansion that would keep health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians. 

Under the watch of this Republican majority, N.C. became the third most expensive state for health care, according to a 2017 study. Expanding access to health insurance will drive down health care costs for all North Carolinians.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina reiterated this, outlining five reasons why North Carolinians pay so much for health care. BCBSNC highlighted state government decisions not to expand Medicaid and to allow residents to remain on “grandfathered” non-ACA compliant plans as a reason for the rising cost of health care in the state.  

The Senate’s attempt to further allow noncompliant plans with no requirement for coverage of preexisting conditions would have furthered the rise in cost of coverage for sick and healthy North Carolinians.