Adam Searing is happy about high-risk pools in N.C. They aren’t a bad idea, but only relative to the horrible status quo left us by N.C. liberals, historically. Here, Searing picks on conservatives for their support on the issue:
It was highly amusing to see ideologically-driven Republicans who can’t seem to stop yelling from the rooftops how important it is to cut government services solemnly intoning into their microphones how critical it was for NC taxpayers to fund health insurance coverage for people who couldn’t afford it. Republican Curtis Blackwood talked about how important it was to fund health insurance for small businesses. Republic Pat McElraft tried to make the point that if the state funds education – a critical service – than it should certainly fund health care coverage for those who can’t afford it.
The reason that Rs welcome high-risk pools is to, well, help save people money — both people with such conditions and people without them. A little investigation would result in an understanding that to create a high-risk pool helps pull high-risk patients out of the insurance market for relatively healthy folks, thereby saving the rest of us money. Sure, it’s a pragmatic compromise involving wealth-transfers, but in this healthcare climate, it could be a necessary one. (Particularly since the "uninsurables" will just take their expensive needs to Medicaid–expanding those "government services". Or worse, N.C. could be looking for "guaranteed issue" — which would be crippling)
Now, the question is: how to fund it? If the rest of us are going to be expected to pay for high-risk patients out of our already skyrocketing premiums, then the very existence of the pool does little good on that score. But isn’t part of the debate about health insurance how to bring down those premiums? Is that the Holy Grail? The conservatives would like to see it funded out of the general fund. Searing writes as if the profit-thirsty insurance companies are behind the alternative funding proposal offered by the conservatives. Actually, the conservatives are looking out for premiums of N.C. citizens (the Progressives are not).