Editorials

High NC sign ups show need for ACA

In what universe is it not a good idea for North Carolinians who otherwise might be forced to get their primary health care in hospital emergency rooms to have health insurance?

Alas, the world is called the Republicans in Congress and in the North Carolina General Assembly, who characterize the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare," as an unmitigated disaster.

Only it's not a disaster, not for the millions of Americans, nearly 500,000 North Carolinians among them, who have gotten insurance through the health care exchanges that help them sign up under the ACA.

Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, came to Raleigh last week to talk about the fact that 480,000 North Carolinians either signed up for new health insurance plans or were automatically re-enrolled in them during the first two-and-a-half months of the ACA's latest enrollment period.

And this is in a state where Republicans stubbornly nixed a state-sponsored exchange, which would have made it much easier to help people find insurance. Instead, those North Carolinians who got insurance had to go through a federal exchange.

Opponents will continue to batter Obamacare, but their alarming predictions have not come to pass. The deficit would balloon? It didn't. The insurance wouldn't work? It does. People who got the insurance would be dissatisfied? They aren't.

In making it possible for more Americans to have access to reasonable insurance for their health needs, the United States is only catching up to other industrialized nations that understand health care should be a right and not a privilege. The president's vehement opponents should quit trying to take that right away.

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