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North Carolina Becomes Next Obamacare Battleground State

Over the next 30 days, North Carolina is expected to become the site for the next battle over President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Former Gov. Bev Purdue had begun to implement the state-based exchanges under the ACA, however the newly sworn-in Republican Gov. Pat McCrory has put on hold those plans, at least for now.

McCrory’s Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that the Governor would decide whether or not to proceed with the state exchanges by February 15.  Meanwhile, due to the plans set in motion by former Gov. Purdue, North Carolina has received federal assistance to help with the exchanges.

North Carolina was awarded a $74 million grant to help with the creation of a health insurance exchange, a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase insurance that’s part of the Affordable Care Act.

The money is part of $1.5 billion in exchange establishment grants offered to 11 states by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and is designed to help ready the exchanges for use in 2014.

Before McCrory’s final decision, Republican lawmakers are making attempts to water down the state’s participation in the ACA as well.  N.C. House Republican Leader, Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam said recently that removing the abortion provisions in ACA are being looked at seriously.

“There is a law being drafted to remove abortions from the health care exchange,” the Apex Republican said, adding that such a proposal likely would be introduced in the Senate. He said a “sex-selection” law is another strong possibility.  “In North Carolina you can get an abortion for any reason, including sex-selection abortions,” Stam said. “That’s something we’ve got to deal with.”

Although Gov. McCrory spoke mostly about jobs and education in his inaugural address, there will be a lot of pressure from his fellow Republicans in the General Assembly to act quickly on the state-based Obamacare provisions at the horizon.

Bruce Carroll

Bruce has his own blog, GayPatriot.org and is active on Twitter as @GayPatriot. Bruce lives near Charlotte, NC and enjoys country music and his three dogs.

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