This week Real Facts NC launched a documentary series, Missing Us. The series focuses on capturing the effects of legislative decisions on the lives of North Carolinians through storytelling. The first installment highlights Greensboro resident Ali Collins and how, as a Black queer and trans person, his preexisting conditions make it harder for him to access health care. Future installments will cover health care from different perspectives.
On September 11, after telling Democrats and reporters that no votes would occur, Republican House Speaker Tim Moore called for a surprise vote in the House to override a veto of a budget that did not include Medicaid expansion. Most Democratic members were not present. House Republicans now say they’ll move forward with a plan that would expand Medicaid, but by tacking work requirements and premiums onto health care plans.Read More
Heath care access has been central to conversations about North Carolina politics. In addition to the surprise passing of the state budget, bills like S86, which aims to provide coverage for small businesses, trade associations, and other groups of professionals who are in the same industry or line of work through what’s called an “association health plan,”leaving health care coverage for many North Carolinians in limbo. Current counter-proposal legislation from the NC GOP adds work requirements. Additionally, new prerequisites to Medicaid access in the state budget could leave residents seeking care without essential benefits and North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions without equal access. Bills and proposals like these could undermine the DHHS’ ability to “protect people’s health and safety.” Access is already a struggle for people with pre-existing conditions, many of whom already suffer from a lack of safety and health care access.Read More
Last week Rep. Brandon Lofton (D-Mecklenburg) tried to amend an omnibus health care bill that changes several laws regulating different aspects of the broad health care industry. His amendment, which would have increased price transparency for prescription drugs, was ruled out of order.
As expanding access to health care becomes one of the leading priorities of the 2019 legislative session, gender identity, a less discussed determinant of access, deserves attention. Trans people are fighting to receive quality health care in North Carolina.
Trans people have been targeted by legislation in North Carolina in the past. One powerful instance was HB2, known as the “bathroom bill,” which restricted public bathroom use for people who were not cis men or women. Another part of this bill that was vastly overlooked made it clear that employees are able to discriminate against a person based on gender identity.
At the close of 2016, newly elected Republican treasurer Dale Folwell announced a goal to “reduce the state health plan’s 32 billion dollar debt, provide a more affordable family premium especially for our lowest paid employees and provide transparency to the taxpayers.” In 2017 Folwell announced the state health plan would no longer cover gender-affirming care for trans state employees as part of his cost-saving effort. This cut continues to undermine the well-being of trans people in North Carolina and advances a path to sanction the denial of rights of key constituents. At 2018’s open, hormone therapy- a method of gender affirmation and one utilized treatment for gender dysphoria- was cut from the state health plan. In 2019, this health plan will come under scrutiny by the legislature as they create NC’s overall budget- and it is in need of some serious changes.Read More
Click here for more background on how N.C. Republicans have failed to address the needs of North Carolinians who live with mental illness and addiction. Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have failed to understand the connection between faltering mental health services in the sta…Read More
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.Read More