SEANC challenges BCBS over health care

November 4, 2009 11:00:28 AM PST
A big fight is brewing in North Carolina over the controversial health care reform bill in Congress and its pitting state employees against powerful insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield.The State Employees Association of North Carolina accuses BCBS of trying to monopolize the health care industry by attempting to block the public option portion of the reform bill.

Wednesday morning, SEANC launched its own campaign in support of the public option.

The organization is sending out their own mailers urging lawmakers to support a public option.

State employee Wendell Powell told Eyewitness News about $700 of his pay check per month goes to health care for his family.

He says his job at the Department of Corrections doesn't leave much extra income, especially with his insurance premiums.

Powell and members of the SEANC ramped up their plans to support a public option in health care reform Wednesday and they intend to send a strong message to BCBS.

"We must act now, we must get this bill through Congress because it's going to really affect in a positive way all North Carolinians, especially those that don't have health insurance," said Sana Cope, SEANC.

BCBS says although it supports reform, it believes a public option would drive private insurers out of business and force millions of Americans into government health care.

"I don't think there's an economist alive, certainly I'm not aware of, when you have more competition in the market place, that drives costs up," Cope said.

SEANC also launched a Website to get lawmakers' attention.

"We're sending a mailer out, encouraging all of our members to contact Senator Kay Hagan and strongly encourage her to support the public option for health insurance reform," Cope said.

Powell wants to see more competition for insurance companies before BCBS raises hi rates.

"They're cutting back," Powell said. "But then they're raising my rate and then they say, 'Well, that's fair.' That's not fair."

BCBS said it wants to see a good bill passed that would give all Americans access to health care. The company says the new SEANC website promoting the public option has a lot of misinformation that's not supported by facts.

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