Gov. Beverly Perdue may be leaving office in January, but she rightly has stepped up to put the state in compliance with federal health care reform. States have to decide, in the establishment of online “exchanges” where people can shop for affordable insurance, whether they want to run the system themselves, want the federal government to do it or want to work with the feds. Perdue wisely chose the third option.
The states’ deadline for choosing is in three months. Absent a choice, the federal government will run the programs. In getting ahead of the deadline, Perdue gives the state some flexibility. North Carolina can always run the exchange itself if Republican Gov.-elect Pat McCrory decides to go that way.
It’s at least refreshing to see that, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding reform, and following an election in which Republican Mitt Romney failed to ride “I’ll repeal Obamacare” to the White House, governors are paying attention to the timetable and realizing that reform has many positives – from making insurance more affordable to giving people choices to covering the uninsured, which should lower insurance costs for everyone.
Those politicians in North Carolina who have steadfastly opposed health care reform may still make some waves, but they would be foolish to try to lead a movement toward noncompliance or repeal. Do they really want to deny adults and children who have no insurance the chance to get it, to improve their health and their lives, while those in other states have that option?
State Senate president pro tem Phil Berger, the Republican leader, strongly criticized the Democratic Perdue for making a decision on the weird logic that she ought to leave it to McCrory. So the sitting governor is just supposed to abdicate her responsibilities while she’s still in office? She is making an important decision and it’s the right decision, and the state can’t be put on “hold” until January.
It’s true some Republican governors, perhaps in silly acts of defiance, have decided they’ll leave it all to the feds. It’s interesting how these small-government types who so strongly criticize the federal government are willing to let it take control on this important issue.
A salute, on the other hand, goes to the state Department of Insurance, which had its act together and has already put in for millions in federal grant money to help oversee reform. This will mean the state will be ready as the final steps of reform start to kick in toward the 2014 finish line. Perdue’s decision is another important step in that readiness for what will be a blessing to many thousands of uninsured North Carolinians and their families.