N.C. State Sen. Phil Berger (’82) spreading bad healthcare information, policy experts say

Months after the U.S. Supreme Court settled the debate about much of the federal health care law, Senate leader Phil Berger (’82)  is circulating an online petition to “Stop Obamacare in North Carolina.”

The petition appears on the Eden Republican’s campaign website. And its language perpetuates one of the bigger myths about the Affordable Care Act, said Mark Hall, a health policy expert at Wake Forest University’s law school.

“These arguments have been rejected – it is the law of the land,” Hall said.

The petition is tied to the state Senate’s passage of legislation that prevents the expansion of Medicaid and a state-sponsored health insurance exchange, two key provisions of President Barack Obama’s health care law. Berger did not return calls Friday about the petition.

On his website Berger says the Senate bill “protects us from: the government turning our health records over to the IRS; government-forced insurance; billions in new taxes on businesses and the people of North Carolina” and ask those who agree to him to sign the petition.

The premise that the Senate is protecting the state is misleading, policy experts said. Even with the legislation now awaiting House action, the state is subject to most of the federal health care law. If North Carolina doesn’t set up a marketplace for purchasing insurance, called an exchange, the federal government will establish one for the state.

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