North Carolina’s Pre-Obamacare Insurance Mandate

by Jordon Greene | For Liberty’s Sake Commentary

For the first time in United States history, on January 1, 2014, our nation will force U.S. citizens to make a choice between enrolling in an insurance plan from a private insurance company or paying a hefty penalty (an extra tax). This, and much more, is due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. This individual mandate to purchase a private product (health insurance), a new extra-constitutional overreach of government power, has met widespread opposition especially by those championing the free-market and the principles of individual liberty. The outrage among conservatives and libertarians over the PPACA (informally called Obamacare) continues to this day.

The NC General Assembly even passed the Protect Healthcare Freedom Act in an attempt to protect North Carolinians against an individual mandate to purchase insurance, an act that was just short of nullification. The resolution eventually failed after Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed the measure, and the Assembly was never able to override the veto, leaving North Carolinians with no real protection against Obamacare.

However, would it surprise you to know that just over half a year before the US Congress passed Obamacare and the Act was signed into law, that North Carolina had enacted its own form of Obamacare on a smaller scale? In August of 2009, the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors, on the recommendation of President Erskine Bowles, approved the implementation of a “hard waiver” insurance requirement for all students at every UNC system school effective fall semester 2010.

Just like Obamacare, the UNC insurance requirement mandates that students enrolled in a UNC system school either must enroll in an acceptable insurance plan from a private company or be forced to enroll in and pay for a UNC endorsed insurance plan. The major difference being that instead of simply placing a penalty through a tax as Obamacare does the UNC insurance mandate forces the student to purchase an approved insurance plan from a private insurance provider or drop out of school.

Had this been the doing of a private university or college it would simply be up to the student to choose whether to attend that particular university. However, this is a mandate put in place by the Board of Governors of the UNC system; North Carolina’s publicly funded university system, an entity of the government. Those with limited-constitutional, tea party or libertarian frames of view will agree that the government has no legitimate authority to force individuals, in this case public university students, to purchase a private product.

The UNC system tries to justify this unconstitutional and anti-liberty mandate by making statements such as the one found on UNC Chapel Hill’s Mandatory Insurance FAQs page, “Unexpected health care expenses such as those associated with illness, accidents, or mental health care can destabilize a student’s financial situation and derail his or her progress toward a degree.” However, it is not the responsibility of government to ensure that individuals make good personal decisions. Individuals are responsible for the consequences of their own actions or inactions, not government.

It is time that all of North Carolina knows that the UNC Board of Governor’s is forcing UNC students to either fork out payment for insurance one way or the other or drop out of school and forfeit their education. It is of note to mention that at the inception of the insurance mandate in August of 2010 the premiums were roughly a minimum of $360 a semester (or $720 a year) but only two school years later the premiums have nearly doubled to exactly $709 a semester (or $1,418 a year). For those who may not be able to afford insurance or have other issues that prevent them from obtaining a more affordable plan, UNC’s mandated plan requires the student pay a hefty price regardless of whether they are financially able if they wish to stay in school, adding yet another financial burden to some students.

If you oppose Obamacare, be sure to let the candidates for office in North Carolina know that you are outraged that the UNC Board of Governors have basically given North Carolina public university students an ultimatum to get insured or forget their education. Let’s work to repeal Obamacare, but let’s not forget North Carolina’s own public university students while we are at it. Repeal the UNC Insurance Mandate!

Show your support by liking the End the UNC Insurance Mandate page on Facebook here.

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