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Coalition Of NC Businesses Focused On Health Care Costs

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About 20 businesses in North Carolina have formed a coalition to work against rising health care costs. It's called the North Carolina Coalition for Fiscal Health, and it'll focus on changes at the state level.

The coalition includes the Mount Olive Pickle Company, Port City Community Church, BlueCross BlueShield and the North Carolina Chamber. Former GOP political consultant Matt Bales is executive director.

“Ultimately, we're making the argument that rising health care costs continue to hurt our economy,” he says.

Health care spending in the U.S. is accelerating after five years of historically low growth, according to the federal government's most recent annual report. Even with the acceleration, growth is still well below the soaring pace of the early 2000s.

It doesn't necessarily happen evenly across the country though, and Bales says there's an opportunity for North Carolina to set itself apart.

"We already are competitive on taxes, competitive on regulations," he says. "What if we really became a leader in having lower health care costs in North Carolina? We're making the argument that is a way to be competitive, to increase jobs."

Bales says the way to do it is by avoiding new legislation that would increase costs. North Carolina is already on the high end of states when it comes to health mandates, according to some rankings.

The coalition will lobby state lawmakers against passing any new ones this session. There are 10 bills the coalition is focused on, including bills to adjust chiropractor co-pays and the availability of oral chemotherapy drugs and abuse-deterrent opioids.

Bales says when you make insurance companies cover more things, premiums tend to go up. The coalition will try to make that part of the conversation at the General Assembly.