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No easy answers on health care

Getting access to health care remains an unresolved issue for many in government, the business community and homes across North Carolina.Some estimate that about 1.3 million North Carolina residents don’t have access to health insurance. Those numbers include people who don’t have access to employer-covered health benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, personal insurance policies or North Carolina’s program for children called Health Choice.

There’s no perfect solution.

Some suggest that providing tax credits to small businesses would make it more affordable for them to offer health insurance to their employees.

Others suggest that state government get more directly involved by expanding Medicaid benefits to parents of children who are already on the government-funded health insurance program for the poor.

Other government-based solutions call for state subsidies for employer-based health insurance. One such proposal would have the government pick up the tab for catastrophic health care costs, allowing insurance companies to keep their premiums more affordable.

But none of them set up the utopia we’d all like to see: every North Carolinian having access to quality health care at an affordable price without potentially being a budget-buster.

For example, the tax credits wouldn’t cover anywhere near all the people who don’t have insurance. And expanding Medicaid would cost an estimated $270 million a year in federal and state funds and would cover only a fraction of the uninsured poor. (more…)

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