A health insurance policy is one of life’s most important protections. Without it, there is nothing between the consumer and financial ruin if high medical costs are suddenly incurred. Tragic accidents and horrible medical diagnoses occur every single day and could happen to anyone of us, at any time.
That’s the reason expanding the opportunity to get health coverage is a policy priority I’ve worked on most of my adult life.
Back when I was the state’s Insurance Commissioner, our system totally failed thousands of North Dakotans with health conditions. Insurance companies would refuse to write them coverage. Those who needed protection the most were the least likely to be able to get it.
A breakthrough came with federal legislation that guaranteed the right to buy health insurance. Families purchasing their own policies now know they cannot be denied for any health reason. If too expensive for a family’s budget, help is provided to make the coverage affordable. We estimate the federal law now makes coverage available for 40,000 North Dakotans who wouldn’t otherwise have this vital protection.
I do not understand why anyone would work to take away this coverage from our families. Sadly, our Attorney General, using state taxpayer dollars, has filed a lawsuit with some other states to end the protections and the premium assistance many are counting on. Recently the Administration joined in — arguing it was unconstitutional to stop insurance companies from refusing coverage to people with preexisting medical conditions.
The United States Supreme Court has twice upheld the constitutionality of the law which guarantees the ability to buy health insurance. As the Attorney General and Administration work hard on the litigation to take it all away, I deeply hope their efforts fail once again. Don’t these leaders understand any one of us could end up depending on the protection they are working so hard to overturn?
Editor’s note: Pomeroy served as North Dakota Insurance Commissioner from 1985 until 1992.