- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina’s insurance commissioner says he’s concerned that the federal health care law is causing havoc in the insurance market in the state.

Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said the Affordable Care Act might prompt some insurance companies to leave North Carolina, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh (https://bit.ly/1Sv0KdX ).

Goodwin, a Democrat, wrote to Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this week as a follow-up to a conversation he had with Obama administration officials in November, telling them the law is increasing insurance costs, reducing consumer choices and creating unsustainable financial losses for insurance companies.

“Insurers cannot continue to have annual losses in the hundreds of millions and be expected to continue ‘business as usual,’” Goodwin wrote to Burwell. “I am highly concerned insurers may withdraw from the individual market in North Carolina altogether.”

Supporters of the health care law said Goodwin is overstating the problems, adding that the law has reduced the number of uninsured people in North Carolina.

The Affordable Care Act has faced opposition from Republicans, with repeated attempts at congressional repeal. Under their leadership, North Carolina did not create a state insurance exchange and did not expand Medicaid, rejecting $74 million in federal grants for those purposes.

Even so, North Carolina has achieved the third-highest ACA enrollment in the country, and insurers here increased rates by an average 27 percent this year, far exceeding national trends, in a bid to keep up with rising medical expenses.

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Information from: The News & Observer, https://www.newsobserver.com

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