Legislative panel will convene, review Obamacare

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 10:40 PM

RALEIGH — Republicans in the General Assembly have been hostile to the federal health care overhaul for years. Now, their leaders are convening a committee to examine the law's effects upon North Carolina's economy and insurance market.

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, announced Monday the creation of a legislative panel to review the 2010 law pushed by President Barack Obama. They say they want to know the real-world results of the law's mandates upon businesses and families, some of whom say they've lost coverage or seen higher premiums.

The GOP-led legislature in 2011 directed the state to join a legal challenge to the federal law, but then-Gov. Beverly Perdue vetoed the bill. Last year, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a law blocking Medicaid expansion and a state-run online health marketplace allowed by the law.

The panel "will delve deeply into the problems Obamacare has caused to the health insurance marketplace and to our economy as businesses and individuals absorb the costs," Tillis and Berger said in a prepared statement.

The legislative leaders said committee members and the panel's first meeting date would be announced in the coming weeks. It wasn't immediately clear if the panel would make recommendations to the full General Assembly, which reconvenes in May.

The committee likely will meet as Tillis seeks the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. He said he wants to repeal the federal health care law. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan voted for the law but has been critical of its rollout, especially on the federally-run website.