(BISMARCK, ND) – IN CASE YOU MISSED IT from C.S Hagen at the High Plains Reader on how the Cramer-endorsed lawsuit threatens to not only strip folks with pre-existing conditions of their coverage but could spike insurance costs for everyone in North Dakota:
- “What in the world got into [Stenehjem]?” former U.S. Representative Earl Pomeroy said. “And the fact that he won’t explain it is a complete mystery. I’ve never seen it. People have the right to expect that those holding public responsibility because of their elected office have a duty to explain why they’re taking the action they are on behalf of the public.
- “…North Dakota deserves better. We at least deserve to know what he was thinking. Why does he hate this coverage so much? Why when the legislature passes Medicaid Expansion does he put the whole thing at risk?”
- If the federal lawsuit is successful, the Affordable Care Act will be declared unconstitutional. Approximately 320,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions will be in danger of losing their health insurance policies. Coverage for 47,000 others in the state will be lost, and everyone will see a “catastrophic” hike in insurance premiums, Pomeroy said.
- “What happens if almost 50,000 people lose their coverage?” Pomeroy said. “People understand what is at risk relative to pre-existing conditions, but what they may not understand are the threats to premium rates in North Dakota.”
- If the lawsuit succeeds, thousands will be out of health insurance. Hospitals will not turn the sick people away, but those who cannot pay will possibly face either a lifetime of doctor bills, or the bad debt will be passed on to other rate payers, Pomeroy said. “Uninsured individuals still needing medical services often can’t pay for them and that produces bad debt, and bad debt factors into the charges to everyone else,” Pomeroy said. “So costs go up, insurance claims go up, and the next thing you know insurance rates go up.
- “In a state with the population of North Dakota this is a very substantial number that would be moving from insured to uninsured. Using the scale of our insurance market in the state, if 47,000 people suddenly lost their coverage it would be a cataclysmic event.”
- Everyone will one day face pre-existing conditions, he said. “Everyone understands a couple of things: that they are at some point in their life’s journey going to develop health conditions,” Pomeroy said. “We’re all mortal. Right now they have the assurance that even if they need to go shopping, they are going to be able to get coverage because of the law that says they cannot use pre-existing conditions against you. The Stenehjem/Cramer lawsuit throws that law out, and then we’re back to the old days.”
- A recent survey of 967 registered voters in North Dakota and performed by Change Research discovered that 60 percent of North Dakotans voted for Trump, and 54 percent want to keep what works with the Affordable Care Act and fix what doesn’t work. A total of 52 percent of those surveyed also stated that healthcare issues are the deciding factor on who to vote for in the U.S. Senate race between U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp and Cramer.
Read the full article here.