A house committee yesterday failed to act on a bill that would require an 18-month moratorium of any additional mandates to health insurance plans sold in North Carolina. Per the N&O:
A General Assembly study committee examining the effects of the federal health care overhaul on North Carolina failed Tuesday to draw enough House members to perform business.
Most House members on the committee stayed away on purpose, according to one of their colleagues. They don’t like a bill before the committee that would place an 18-month moratorium on new insurance mandates while lawmakers study the effects of their costs on patients, insurers and state government. Committee leaders prepared to meet again Wednesday morning in hopes of having enough lawmakers present to act.
The measure, which needs a recommendation from the committee to be considered this year, appears to clash with another bill that passed the House in 2013 requiring health insurance providers to cover autism diagnosis and treatment, said Rep. Charles Jeter, R-Mecklenburg, a committee member. The Senate hasn’t yet heard that bill, which passed by a wide margin in the House.
Insurance mandates require all insurance plans in the state cover a certain ailment or treatment, driving up the cost of insurance premiums. The number of insurance mandates in states ranges from a low of 13 in Idaho to a high of 69 in Rhode Island. North Carolina has 55 mandates, 14th most in the nation. Different mandates have different cost impacts on insurance premiums.
Some lawmakers are considering exempting the autism mandate from the moratorium in order to enact the mandate this year.
Civitas has written about insurance mandates in the past, and it is important to note that government should not be in the business of dictating to insurance companies what their plans must cover. Such requirements shift decision-making from consumers to politicians while stifling any competitive innovation insurance companies would engage in if they were freed from so many government demands.