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Glassheim: Godfread omitted important facts

To the editor,

North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread omitted a few important facts in his comments to the Herald editorial board about health insurance (Oct. 7, "Graham-Cassidy still achievable").

Here are some of the things he forgot to mention:

*Graham-Cassidy is wildly unpopular throughout the country, by at least a 2-1 margin.

*It's estimated that 47,000 North Dakotans would lose health care under the Republican plan.

*North Dakota would lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the next two decades.

*About a third of rural hospitals would close because the federal share of Medicaid would shrivel and the state would be unable or unwilling to make up the difference.

*Medica is leaving the North Dakota health insurance market because Trump threatened to withhold cost share payments in order to deliberately create uncertainty and risk. Medica then prudently requested an additional 10 percent premium increase in case Trump stood by his threat to destabilize the individual market. When the insurance commissioner refused the request, he forced Medica to choose between unacceptable risk of large losses due to the president's action, or leaving an uncooperative North Dakota market.

*All the popular protections of the Affordable Care Act—no annual or lifetime caps, assured coverage for preexisting conditions, coverage for maternity, required coverage for most major illnesses, free or low cost preventive visits, the requirement that large employers provide coverage for their employees—would lose the federal guarantee and be left to the whims and changing politics of the North Dakota Legislature.

Nor did Commissioner Godfread urge Sen. Hoeven to support the emerging bipartisan fix to stabilize the market being worked on by Sens. Alexander (R) and Murray (D).

It's unfortunate that leaders won't tell the Herald or the public the rest of the story.

Eliot Glassheim

Grand Forks

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