Meadows says Obamacare threatens insurance industry – Asheville Citizen
ASHEVILLE - Obamacare is a threat to the insurance industry and professionals in the business should stay focused on their customers to fight it, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows said.
Meadows, R-Glenville who represents North Carolina's 11th District, was the speaker at the Western North Carolina Association of Health Underwriters luncheon in Asheville on Tuesday.
Meadows campaigned on fighting Obamacare during his first run for office in 2012. He is running for re-election this year.
Meadows voted to shut down the federal government last summer in an effort to block funding for the Affordable Care Act.
He's also filed a bill that would exempt colleges from paying for health insurance for student workers under the law. The UNC System wanted the legislation amid fears that the law would mean cuts to student jobs because of the extra expense.
Meadows said new regulations are not coming soon because of Washington political gridlock. That gives the insurance industry time to move forward even as Obamacare is making it harder for agents to do business, he said.
"What we are going to have to do is start to telling the story of the best advice you get is from the people who are experts," he said.
Meadows said the Affordable Care Act makes health insurance more affordable, in part, by cutting the agent's commission out of the process.
He said the law is bad for competition in the private insurance market. Competition, he said, is a way to control costs.
The Affordable Care Act has meant health insurance for 8 million people, according to the White House. The law requires that everyone have insurance or pay a fine.
The law has not generally been popular in North Carolina, which was one of 24 states that did not expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Supporters point to the many more people who now have insurance and a path to routine medical care, which health industry experts predict will one day drive down costs. Critics point to overreach by the federal government and rising premiums. Premiums have been increasing for years, even before Obamacare.
Meadows raised the issue of choice and quality in his speech on Tuesday.
He said the government is not a good broker for something as personal has health insurance.
"As we start to count more and more on the government to give advice what do you get?" he said. "You get less and less expertise. You get what you pay for."
State Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, Rep. Nathan Ramsey, R-Buncombe, and Sen. Ralph Hise, R- Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Yancey, spoke to the group in wide-ranging panel discussion about policies approved in the General Assembly's short session.
The legislature did not tackle Medicaid reform this summer. Hise said that could happen next session.
Seventy-five percent of the patients served by Mission Health System, the largest provider in WNC, are on Medicaid or Medicare.
The state is considering giving Medicaid to managed care organizations or accountable care organizations to run. The program amounts to a quarter of the state budget, Hise said.
Contracting with private companies to manage the program would help with budgeting, Hise and other Republicans have said.
Meadows said repeal of Obamacare is not probable with President Obama in office and Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate.