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UNC system tweaks insurance policy on abortion coverage

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Under e-mail assault from a pro-life student group, UNC system leaders have tweaked a new health insurance plan so students can opt out of coverage for abortions.

The system is instituting a new health insurance program this fall, an attempt to make sure all 200,000 or so public university students have some sort of coverage.

While the university isn't requiring students to by the UNC insurance, it is mandating that all students have some sort of health coverage, either through their parents or purchased elsewhere.

Students who don't already have coverage can purchase the new UNC plan, which offers annual premiums of a bit more than $700 on average. (The precise dollar amount varies a bit by campus. Here's a link to that information).

But in the face of criticism, the system announced today that students can opt not to have abortions covered by their plans.

"No student will be required to have this coverage as part of the new health care plan, nor will they be paying for anybody else," said UNC system President Erskine Bowles.

A national group called Students for Life of America have railed against the UNC insurance program, saying students would have to pay for elective abortions, regardless of their personal beliefs on that controversial issue.

Students who do opt out of the abortion portion of the insurance plan won't pay a cheaper rate because the abortion element doesn't affect its cost, officials said.


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We live in a civilized society

You know what I find most bizarre about these conservative numbnuts?  They don't seem to get that we live in a civilized society in which we all contribute to the greater good, even if we don't personally benefit or utilize all of the services.  They seem so totally focused on their  own individualism instead of the commonwealth.  It is totally bizarre and un-American.

"Why are liberal bureaucrats

"Why are liberal bureaucrats forcing college students to buy health insurance?"

Liberal bureaucrats are forcing college students to buy health insurance because the GOP a priori rejected the sensible solution to out-of-control health care costs and both parties are beholden to their corporate donors. 

What is the sensible solution?  Creating an optional, national, single payer health care system like can be found in much of the rest of the industrialized world.

okay okay

Where does it say in the Constitution that a government bureaucracy can force an American citizen to buy something?


You are showing your knowledge

First, no one is forcing those students to go to UNC.  If they want to go to UNC, all they have to do is prove they have insurance or buy it.  They can buy insurance from anywhere.  If they don't like the policy, go to another school.  No one is free to pick the policies they will obey and the ones they will not obey.  Please read my other two posts about why this policy is a good idea.

Second, please re-read the Constitution.  The Constitution is a blueprint for government that gives government the ability to impose these sorts of requirements on its citizens.  While you will not find the words that say, "UNC has the right to ask students to prove they have health insurance,"  there is plenty in the US and North Carolina constitutions that specifically gives government the ability to require citizens to follow the rules for the good of everyone.  Government requires drivers to have automobile insurance.  Are you saying that is a bad idea? 

Why do they HAVE to buy insurance?

Why are liberal bureaucrats forcing college students to buy health insurance?  It's none of their business!

RE: Why do they have to buy insurance?

I'm not sure whether or not requiring students to prove they have health insurance or buy that insurance is a "liberal bureaucrat" thing or not.  There is a good argument that those "bureaucrats" are probably "conservative."

The story isn't as clear as it could be, thanks to the less than clear writing we've come to expect from the NandO in the past few years. Students are required starting this year to prove they have some kind of health insurance or they are required to purchase a standard policy through a private insurer that is chosen by the UNC system.  The goals, it appears, are to make sure all students are protected and that you and I as taxpayers are not required to pay more because the student or the parents are trying to skate by.  If that student were not insured and had an accident or were sick, you and I, as taxpayers, would find ourselves footing the bill.

Having good health insurance is a personal responsibility in today's world.  Being responsible for yourself and not making the taxpayers pay for being sick or injured is a conservative value. 

I really get sick and tired of everything being labeled as being from a "liberal bureaucrat."  It would be really nice if "Fiestamom" and other "conservatives" would stop and think before writing any old diatribe when they see a story such as this.  Writing what "Fiestamom" did just gives conservatism a bad name.

I'm the parent of one of those UNC students.  When I first saw the requirement, I thought about it and found it refreshing that everyone is being treated the same.  No one is getting special treatment or special favors.  If you want to go to UNC, don't expect the taxpayers to bail you out if you are sick or injured.  Take some personal responsibility.

As for "Fiestamom", I wonder if you are actually one of those professional "conservative" bloggers who just rant and rave and use the word "liberal" a lot.

Is It Mandatory?

Is buying this insurance mandatory? I couldn't tell from the article. I suppose it falls into the same category as typically requiring students to buy quite expensive student activity passes each year even if they don't plan to use the health complex or go to sporting events. I would think having this fairly inexpensive insurance plan would reduce overall medical costs for the University (i.e., state taxpayers) and the students' families if the students could use their insurance for wellness visits to local physicians and not depend on the college dispensaries so much. College students are housed in close quarters (think: germy) and often have unhealthy lifestyles, even risky ones, and so they would likely benefit from regular healthcare. Certainly, their families would have some peace of mind, if not actual savings.

Anyway, I'm not sure it's a "liberal bureaucrat" thing, but ... po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe ...


Good question: Let me make that clear here and in the blog post itself. The UNC system is not forcing students to buy its new insurance plan, but it is requiring that all students have some sort of health coverage, whether from the university or from another source. Students who don't want to buy the UNC system's insurance essentially have to prove they have other insurance.

But why?

Thanks for finding that out and reporting on it.  But my question still is?  WHY?

A lot of college kids don't have extra money, and at that age, are typically healthy.  Seems like the new CVS Minit Clinic type things (there's others) are perfect for the typical college kid malady. 

Why does it matter to liberal bureaucrats that they would force people to buy insurance? 

Fiestamom, Please read my


Please read my reply to your original post and try to put some real brainpower any response.  My gut reaction is that you are not the mother of a UNC student.

Also, please do everyone a favor and try to post a response without using the words "liberal bureaucrat."  You sound as if you have been brainwashed by the tea party, Rush or Glen. 

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About the blogger

Eric Ferreri covers higher education and general news.