Association Health Plans are still a bad idea

You're probably better off with no insurance at all:

These types of plans were nixed under the Affordable Care Act, which required all insurance policies to contain 10 essential benefits and disallowed so-called “skinny” plans that provide little beyond basic catastrophic coverage, if that.

Association health plans were green-lighted again under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in October 2017, which was seen by many as a way of undermining former President Barack Obama’s ACA. But the plans also come with a host of caveats. They make some observers nervous because in the past association health plans have produced substandard policies that left some patients with big bills or skyrocketing premiums.

All insurance "pools" are a rarefied version of a Ponzi scheme, but these association health plans are even more so. There's simply not enough money in the pot to pay off all the losers if there's even a slight bump in the percentage of catastrophic health treatments, and the fact these "skinny" plans don't cover well care visits or other prophylactic measures actually increases that likelihood. Instead of fast-tracking boondoggles like this, which will likely only be tempting to those who make over the ACA subsidy threshold, the NCGA should be expanding Medicaid to cover those in the gap. And before approving AHPs, they need to wait and see how the courts and Federal government decide this issue:

Friday News: Tainted money magnet

danforest.jpg

DAN FOREST FORCED TO RETURN $15,000 IN CAMPAIGN DONATIONS: N.C. Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, a Republican who plans to run for governor in 2020 against Democrat Roy Cooper, has been forced to forfeit thousands of dollars due to campaign finance violations. An audit of Forest’s campaign by the North Carolina State Board of Elections found numerous violations. In all, Forest resolved the audit by giving up more than $15,000. Most of the money the Forest campaign had to forfeit came from conservative groups that operate in federal politics but weren’t properly registered to get involved in state politics. That included $5,000 from a group whose name appears to have been listed as a misspelling of the EnergySolutions Inc. Fund For Effective Government, which supports electric utility companies, $2,500 from the Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion, and $500 from a group called Citizens for Constitutional Liberties.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article233652187.html

Rip van Holding gets three Dem challengers (so far)

holdingasleep.jpg

You need to start rolling that trash can out to the road to get in shape:

Republican Rep. George Holding, the North Carolina congressional incumbent who by one measure had the closest 2018 race, has drawn several Democratic challengers for his 2020 re-election bid.

Wake County Public Schools board member Monika Johnson-Hostler announced her candidacy Wednesday. Retired Marine Scott Cooper, the founder of Veterans for American Ideals, announced in April he would run. Open Table United Methodist Church pastor Jason Butler filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last month.

Holding is the epitome of an empty-suit bankster barely warming his seat in Congress. He's been there for 6+ years, and has sponsored "two" bills that became law; one to keep sub-Saharan African countries from underbidding American companies, and one to authorize the Supreme Court Police to protect Justices at their homes. Both were within his first term, and apparently he was exhausted from the effort. Not going to endorse anybody in this race, but I have been seeing a lot of this guy on social media for months:

Thursday News: It's what they do

danmccready.jpg

CLUB FOR GROWTH RUNS FALSE AD AGAINST MCCREADY OVER REPS: The Club for Growth ad says McCready backed regulations that would cost consumers $149 million a year in their electric bills. While it is true that the clean-energy group pushed to keep a renewable portfolio standard in North Carolina, the standard had already been established for close to a decade at the time McCready joined the group’s board. It is misleading to say that NCSEA lobbied for “costly state regulations” when RPS had already been in the law for years before the House put forward legislation that would have watered it down. The ad gives an exact figure for the costs of the standard, but experts told us that estimates on the effects of RPS vary widely, ranging from savings to costs. What’s more, the ad fails to mention that renewable energy decreases toxic and costly carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, we rate this statement Mostly False.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article233572392.html

Public investment, private profit? Broadband bill has serious flaws

The need is great, but the need to do it right may be even greater:

(a) A county shall have the authority to construct facilities or equipment of a broadband service as defined by G.S.62-3 for the purpose of leasing such facilities or equipment, in accordance with G.S.160A-272, to one or more lessees who are not a governmental unit as defined in G.S.160A-274.16. (b) A board of county commissioners may utilize ad valorem tax levies authorized under 17G.S.153A-149(c), grants, or any other unrestricted funds in exercising authority granted under this section.

Bolding mine, because caveats kind of piss me off. A few years ago, Republicans in the General Assembly basically outlawed municipalities from constructing and operating broadband networks, ostensibly because they represented "unfair competition" to private companies. Said companies lobbied the hell out of Legislators to make that happen, but since then have done little (or nothing) to bring broadband into areas that desperately need it. The above bill, as you can see, pulls the cost of construction out of the hands (wallets) of taxpayers, and gives whatever profits are made to private sector entities. What happens when said company starts raising rates above what people are willing (or able) to pay? I see no mechanism for the municipality in question to regulate that. There is also no mechanism for the municipality to take over operation in case of mismanagement, or if said private company decides to pull out of the lease agreement. In the absence of those mechanisms, this bill is terminally flawed.

UNC's interim President in hot water over conflicts of interest

You can't serve five masters:

William Roper, the current interim president of the University of North Carolina system and former longtime CEO of the UNC Health Care System, failed to disclose his seats on the boards of major corporations between 2011 and 2019, at the same time as those corporations did business with the state, records show.

None of his corporate board service was disclosed on state ethics forms until last week, when Roper filed amended forms in response to an inquiry from WBTV for this story.

James and I discussed some of these issues on our radio program nine years ago, and finding these potentially unethical connections (or overlaps) is not always easy. Google searches often drill down into corporate press releases, but the names of board members rarely show up in those broad searches. By the same token, when searching an individual, you may not see their corporate affiliation until you get to page 7 of the search. And you can forget LinkedIn, because that is almost exclusively information provided by the member, and if he/she doesn't want a connection to be made, well. Anyway, back to this story, and the dueling salaries involved:

Pages

Subscribe to Front page feed