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Robert Danos

Ask candidates about Obamacare
S
ome inconvenient truths were confirmed regarding Obamacare in North Carolina recently from an unlikely source (Times-News, “NC insurance commissioner criticizes health care law,” Feb. 2).

It will be interesting (disappointing is probably a better word) to see how the Democrats running for office in North Carolina this year choose to deal with the truth.

North Carolina’s elected Democratic insurance commissioner, Wayne Goodwin, sounded the alarm that Obamacare “is increasing insurance costs, reducing consumer choices and creating unsustainable financial losses for insurance companies.”

Before we get into the details of his report, let’s take care of any readers who will want to charge that Goodwin is somehow a secret Republican simply posing as a Democrat. That is almost always the noise made when a Democrat has dared to go off script on this issue — that the person must somehow be a closet conservative.

With Goodwin, they can’t paint him in that vein. He has always been fully supported by the N.C. Democratic Party. He has shared all of the same fundraisers and election season platforms with Elaine Marshall, Kay Hagan and Walter Dalton. And he has filed again this year to run again as a Democrat.

Our local Henderson County Democratic Party proudly touted Goodwin in its elections site fliers.

Goodwin is a true blue Democrat who apparently has the integrity and courage to do his job honestly by highlighting the harm Obamacare is causing in our state.

In a letter to Sylvia Burwell, U.S. secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Goodwin described our skyrocketing rates (are there any readers without subsidized insurance who didn’t know that?) and how he had to allow the insurance companies here to jack rates up an average of 27 percent just to keep ahead of rising expenses.

Goodwin also told Burwell that “the number of insurers offering individual coverage here has decreased from 29 to eight, while those offering small group coverage dropped from 27 to 10.”

He asked her, “If North Carolina continues along this path and we have no carriers, what will we do?”

Of course, conservatives could take time here to ask Goodwin where he was on this issue when the original fight occurred. Surely as the incumbent insurance commissioner, he could and should have sounded the alarm long before now, but at least he is doing it now unlike the rest of the Democratic leaders in North Carolina.

These are all the predicted harms to health care in North Carolina that conservatives predicted. We predicted that it would result in higher costs, not lower. We predicted that it would result in fewer choices, not more. We predicted that, in exchange for insuring some more of the lowest income citizens, it would make insurance unaffordable for many more among the middle class.

These only pile on top of the long since proven false promises of Obamacare not preventing people from keeping their doctor or health plan if they want to.

Goodwin now sees all of these as coming true. Of course, what Goodwin does not seem to recognize still is that this havoc in North Carolina’s health care market is not an accident of Barack Obama’s and the designers of Obamacare.

Conservatives have always been convinced that Obamacare was intended to crush the private insurance market, thereby setting up a scenario in which we have to be rescued by a single-payer, socialized medicine takeover.

Goodwin did offer tepid remedies to the growing problem, one useless and one positive.

He said one idea is for the Republicans to allow the Medicaid expansion to shift more low-income customers off private insurance. This is, of course, like the medieval practice of “bleeding” a patient to get rid of a disease. You might feel better for a few minutes, but the long-term outlook is a death spiral. In this case, the “bleeding” of our state budget once the “free” federal money stops, and the increase of the tax burden on the middle class to slow, not stop, the collapse of our insurance system, is foolish.

The more useful idea he put forward is “for Congress to allow states greater latitude to experiment with their own approaches.” In that, of course, he would find in Raleigh a Republican majority ready to agree, one that has been sounding the alarm on behalf of North Carolina for years.

If Goodwin remains serious, then we could see an emerging bipartisan pushback that should include many of the ideas in the “repeal and replace” bill recently passed in Congress.

The question for me now is whether the Democrats running for governor, lieutenant governor and the General Assembly this year will have the courage to admit the truth Goodwin has spoken or whether they will tow the party line.

Attorney General Roy Cooper wants to be your next governor. Does he agree with Goodwin that Obamacare is creating having? He should be asked: info@roycooper. com. How about lieutenant governor candidate Linda Coleman? Ask her at info@LindaForNC. com.

In the N.C. Senate race that covers Henderson County, Democratic candidate Norm Bossert should be asked: www. bossertforstatesenate. com. In the N.C. House District 113 race, Maureen Copelof should be asked: www.maureencopelof. com. Ask these candidates not only if they agree with Goodwin on the harm Obamacare is causing, but if they are willing to speak out against it and the leftist goal of ending private health care. — Robert Danos is a Hendersonville resident and former spokesman for the 11th District NCGOP. Reach him at .