Goodwin: The ‘stubborn tax’ hikes N.C. premiums
BY NED BARNETT
NOVEMBER 7, 2015 N&O
...“I’m frustrated, angry and sad that in many ways our office is prohibited from acting in ways that I expect and the people expect. We can do better, as a state we can do better,” said [Insurance Commissioner Wayne] Goodwin, a Democrat elected statewide. ...for Republicans, the messier and more expensive “Obamacare” gets in North Carolina, the better. After all, they said it would be a “trainwreck,” and in North Carolina they did all they could to bend the rails.
...With another round of ACA enrollment starting Nov. 1, North Carolina’s average premium increase is among the highest in the nation. ... but the law forbids the state Department of Insurance from offering advice on how to shop for a more affordable plan... What’s maddening for Goodwin isn’t simply that he can’t give advice to consumers. It’s also that the lack of a state exchange hobbled his ability to attract more insurance companies to sell ACA plans in North Carolina – an increase in competition that would have held down rates... The insurance commissioner also regrets that he is blocked from taking a tougher line on rates submitted by the few companies that are selling here. “It would have helped if the state had left me with the muscle to push back and fight for consumers,” he said...
No state exchange, no state insurance department advocacy, no Medicaid expansion have “put us in North Carolina, in many respects, at ground zero for the worst possible result,” Goodwin said...
Goodwin calls the effect of the GOP’s hardline “a stubborn tax.” And he thinks it’s time for that tax to be repealed, “...Let’s move on. Let’s help North Carolinians, let’s have lower rates, let’s serve our families, let’s help people in rural hospitals, let’s save our budget from sending more and more money down a hole when the money could go to our public schools.” read column
GOP congresswoman gets surprise on Facebook after asking constituents for Obamacare horror stories
Mar 26, 2015 by Jen Hayden Daily Kos
Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers posted an image on her official Facebook page, slamming the Affordable Care Act on the fifth anniversary of President Obama signing it into law. She asked constituents to share their Obamacare nightmare stories and well, the response probably wasn't what she expected. See a sample of the comments constituents left on her page.
See this story on the Daily Kos
Rep. Stam admits he doesn’t understand Medicaid expansion that he opposes
Chris Fitzsimon February 9, 2015
NC Policy Watch
Rep. Paul Stam was bellowing about the evils of expanding Medicaid on WRAL-TV’s On the Record this weekend. He claimed that every dollar the federal government spends on expansion is being borrowed from the Chinese, which a WRAL fact check story showed to be ridiculous. He also said that we don’t need to expand the program because the people who would be covered are already getting help. Most of the people who would be in any kind of Medicaid expansion are already getting large subsidies on the federal exchange, several hundred thousand probably… Well no, that is simply not true either...there are about 357,000 completely left out in a Medicaid coverage gap because they are both ineligible for Medicaid and unable to qualify for help buying insurance on the exchanges...
Stam’s reaction when confronted with the facts?
During a break in the show, we checked in with Stam regarding his statement on Medicaid. He said he was unaware of how the coverage gap worked
If you are keeping score at home, Stam’s case against Medicaid expansion is based on a claim that is not true and he admits that he doesn’t understand how a key part of the program even works.
But he’s opposed to expansion anyway.
Medicaid Conversation Gains Steam In North Carolina
By LEONEDA INGE Jan. 7, 2015 WUNC
The head of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is speaking out in support of expanding Medicaid in the state. Brad Wilson is President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. “As business leaders of North Carolina, you need to help us craft a solution to expand Medicaid," said Wilson... Reports show 500,000 mostly low-income people in the state would have health care if Medicaid was expanded. These are people who are not eligible for coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act. read/listen to story
Also see/reread from NC Policy Watch:
Expand Medicaid? Now’s the time
- and -
Report from the Cone Health Foundation:
The Economic and Employment Costs of
Not Expanding Medicaid in North Carolina:
A County-Level Analysis
No excuses left not to expand Medicaid
7/2/2015 by Chris Fitzsimon NC Policy Watch
In case Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders haven’t heard, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. The Supreme Court made sure of that last week by rejecting an absurd claim that Congress didn’t intend for the law to provide subsidies for people in states that didn’t set up their own health care exchanges and were instead buying coverage on the federal marketplace.
Congress clearly passed the ACA to make health care affordable to people across the country, not just in select states. The law also provides strong incentives to states to expand Medicaid and cover millions of low-income adults who don’t fall within the classifications of folks currently eligible for the program, children, seniors, people with disabilities, etc. read article
Here's How Thursday's ACA Decision Will Affect 6.4 Million People
The Huffington Post | By Anna Almendrala
Millions of Americans who rely on federal subsidies to afford their health insurance breathed a sigh of relief Thursday when the Supreme Court affirmed the Affordable Care Act’s provision to deliver subsidies to people who need them. Thanks to the court's interpretation of the ACA’s provision for federal subsidies when the state doesn’t provide any, an estimated 6.4 million across 34 states will be able to keep their insurance premiums low and affordable. read article
Lawsuit Might Mean Loss For NC Women
February 19, 2015 by Jennifer Ferris
...In a few short weeks, the Supreme Court will hear opening arguments on King v. Burwell, a lawsuit that alleges Obamacare subsidies are actively harming a small subset of taxpayers. If the suit wins, insurance healthcare subsidies in the 37 states that use the federal insurance marketplace will be cut. For the average North Carolina marketplace subscriber, this could mean insurance going up by more than $3,320 a year. That’s 182,000 people who might lose their ability to afford health insurance overnight. Let’s add those to the 319,000 North Carolina residents who fall into the Medicaid Gap, and the picture becomes clear: the health and livelihood of our state’s residents is not a legislative priority. ...What’s frustrating is that if NC had set up its own health insurance marketplace, this lawsuit wouldn’t be a threat. read article
Also see N&O:
King v. Burwell puts the ACA at risk
The defining policy question of 2015
1/13/2015 by Rob Schofield NC Policy Watch
...it is not at all difficult to forecast either the key issue or the central political figure of the drama that is to come. The issue is Medicaid expansion and the politician is Governor Pat McCrory... To say that the decision on whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is the issue of 2015 is not to say that it is the only important issue of 2015... One completely unique factor, however, explains why no other single issue is ultimately as important to determining the near term future of North Carolina – ... it will save human lives – lots and lots of them. read article
NC may reverse course on Medicaid expansion
Mark Barrett November 16, 2014 Citizen Times
If Republicans reverse course, an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain coverage under Medicaid, which pays health care costs for poor children, low-income elderly people and the disabled. Whether to accept federal money to expand Medicaid is shaping up as one of the biggest questions to face lawmakers when the General Assembly opens its 2015 session in January.
If Republicans reverse course, an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians stand to gain coverage under Medicaid, which pays health care costs for poor children, low-income elderly people and the disabled. But doing so also would force the GOP to implement a key component of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement. Gov. Pat McCrory and outgoing House Speaker Thom Tillis both have said in recent weeks that it is time for the state to look again at the issue. read article
Law in the Raw
NOV. 12, 2014
New York Times
Nearly a week has gone by since the Supreme Court’s unexpected decision to enlist in the latest effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and the shock remains unabated...
There was no urgency. There was no crisis of governance, not even a potential one. There is, rather, a politically manufactured argument over how to interpret several sections of the Affordable Care Act that admittedly fit awkwardly together in defining how the tax credits are supposed to work for people who buy their health insurance on the exchanges set up under the law. Further, the case the court agreed to decide, King v. Burwell, doesn’t fit the normal criterion for Supreme Court review. read column
Editorial: New hope for deal on Medicaid Oct. 08, 2014
...Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature may soon reconsider their long-standing opposition to Medicaid expansion. Aldona Wos, the state Health and Human Services secretary, told the Observer editorial board Wednesday that with some flexibility from the federal government on how things are structured, a half-million or so state residents could become newly eligible for health insurance.
“We really are evaluating the different options and will be presenting them to the governor,” Wos said... This marks a dramatic and important turnaround. McCrory, Wos and Republican legislative leaders opposed Medicaid expansion... Now they might be open to it, attracting more than $30 billion of federal money in the next eight years to provide health insurance to 300,000 to 500,000 residents – at very little cost to N.C. taxpayers.
...Wos recently announced a $63 million budget surplus for the state’s Medicaid program. She told the editorial board that the program is on sound footing and so now expansion is worth considering. ...whether North Carolina expands Medicaid will hinge to a great degree on how flexible the federal government is in allowing the state to craft a plan with certain features...
North Carolina should have accepted Medicaid expansion long ago rather than make a political statement against Obamacare at the expense of hard-working North Carolinians. It was a good financial deal for the state, and it would have encouraged cheaper preventative care for low-income residents before they encountered more serious problems. It’s not too late, though. With face-saving measures included or not, Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders can still do the right thing. read editorial
NC health insurance subsidies could go away
by Michael Papich Aug 1, 2014
After the Affordable Care Act (ACA) barely made it out of the Supreme Court intact, the law could be heading back to the high court, putting affordable health insurance in jeopardy for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians. In North Carolina, the loss of these subsidies would be, as Adam Linker, policy analyst for the Heath Action Coalition at the North Carolina Justice Center, put it, devastating to the people and destabilizing to the market. “There’s more than 320,000 people who are getting subsidies through the marketplace in North Carolina. You would basically have immediate premium increases for those people and many of them would not be able to afford insurance anymore,” Linker said.
In a ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the subsidies given by the government for federally run health insurance exchanges set up by the ACA were deemed to not be a part of the law... so exchanges set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, like the one in North Carolina, do not get subsidized health insurance.
Linker called this an “absurd legal challenge,” which judges around the country seem to agree with, as other circuit courts, including our own 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, have ruled that federally-run exchanges can offer subsidies... The D.C. Circuit’s ruling is not the law of the land yet, and the full D.C. Circuit Court has yet to rule on the law, but with courts disagreeing over the law’s interpretation, the chances of this challenge reaching the Supreme Court is more likely. Linker said it is not outside the realm of possibility for the Roberts court to rule against the ACA in this potential case. read article
Go to our Healthcare Page
Senate moves ahead on Medicaid restructuring
By Laura Leslie
July 17, 2014
Despite a chorus of protests, including the governor's, Senate leaders are moving ahead with a plan to restructure the state's Medicaid system. The Senate plan, introduced Wednesday, would turn the state's Medicaid system over to non-state management...which would accept a flat amount per patient in return for providing all of the behavioral, physical, specialized and other care for that patient. Senate leaders said the...plan would bring state Medicaid spending under control. But critics say the Senate proposal would send administrative dollars out of state to large commercial insurance networks, cut physician participation and dismantle the state's award-winning behavioral health network, Community Care of North Carolina...
Jeff Myers, representing the trade association of insurance plans that manage Medicaid care in 34 other states...assured the panel that managed care delivers not only lower cost per patient but better care and better overall outcomes. Greg Griggs, representing the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, disagreed, warning that forcing small practices to juggle the requirements of multiple private Medicaid management contractors would "bury" those doctors in a mountain of paperwork. In North Carolina, Griggs said, 90 percent of primary care doctors accept Medicaid patients. In Florida, which is the model for the Senate proposal, about half of them do...
Mary Hooper, appearing on behalf of the state's current managed care system for behavioral health, warned that the Senate plan would "destabilize" that system... DHHS legislative liaison Adam Sholar... warned that putting an executive branch function under a board largely appointed by lawmakers violates the separation of powers, a constitutional issue... On Wednesday afternoon, McCrory also issued a statement of opposition to the measure.
Senate leaders were unmoved by the protests...
The Senate is expected to vote on the measure early next week. read article
Sen. Reid tees up bill to reverse Hobby Lobby
By Ramsey Cox
July 14, 2014
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the first procedural vote on a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows some employers to deny birth control coverage for women. “After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women's access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said while introducing the bill last week.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that companies, such as Hobby Lobby, don’t have to provide their employees birth control coverage as mandated under ObamaCare. The 5-4 decision stated that the mandate violated the religious liberties of employers who don’t believe in the use of contraceptives... “The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill. “My common-sense proposal will keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn't be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.” read article
Democrats Will Vote to Undo the Hobby Lobby Decision
By DAVID FIRESTONE
JULY 9, 2014 NY Times
The Supreme Court’s ruling last week in the Hobby Lobby case wasn’t based on a fundamental right found in the First Amendment or anywhere else in the Constitution. When the justices said that closely held corporations have religious rights that let them refuse to pay for insurance plans that cover contraceptives, they based their decision on a 1993 law passed by Congress, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
That means Congress has the ability to rewrite federal law to overrule the court’s decision, and Senate Democrats have wasted little time coming up with a bill to do just that.
The bill, sponsored by Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado, was introduced today, co-sponsored by 38 other Democrats. It wouldn’t rewrite the 1993 law, which was intended to protect the religious rights of individuals. But it would make it clear that the law doesn’t permit employers to refuse to comply with the Affordable Care Act, which requires contraceptives to be covered by health insurance.
It would be illegal for employers to cite a religious reason for disobeying the health law, as Hobby Lobby did. read article
SCOTUS sides with Hobby Lobby on birth control
By JENNIFER HABERKORN and JOSH GERSTEIN
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on Monday that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under Obamacare.
...The court’s four liberal justices called it a decision of “startling breadth” and said that it allows companies to “opt out of any law (saving only tax laws) they judge incompatible with their sincerely held religious beliefs.” ...The majority decision could open the door to other closely held corporations seeking to withhold coverage for other medical procedures at odds with firm religious beliefs. It marks the first time that the Supreme Court has allowed companies the ability to declare a religious belief — a decision that could reverberate far past the Affordable Care Act to other laws and issues.
...The Obama administration and women’s health groups have warned that if they lost in the Supreme Court, the ruling could have much broader health coverage implications. If a company can skirt the contraception requirement, what’s to prevent another employer from objecting to providing access to vaccines or blood transfusions on religious grounds, they asked. ...Ginsburg and the dissenters sharply disagreed “...In no way does the dissent ‘tell the plaintiffs that their beliefs are flawed,” she wrote. “Right or wrong in this domain is a judgment no Member of this Court...is authorized or equipped to make. What the Court must decide is not ‘the plausibility of a religious claim…’ but whether accommodating that claim risks depriving others of rights accorded them by the laws of the United States.”
...Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promised to try to restore the contraception coverage.“If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will,” Reid said in a statement. “We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room.” read article
also read Mother Jones: The 8 Best Lines From Ginsburg's Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision
Medicaid glitch puts $60M hole in proposed budgets
June 4, 2014 WRAL By Mark Binker
...In a very technical-sounding news release issued late Tuesday afternoon, Budget Director Art Pope and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos said they were abandoning a plan to levy Medicaid assessments on local mental health agencies. An "assessment" is money a health care provider hands back to the state for participating in the Medicaid program for the poor and uninsured. However, levying that kind of assessment on local management entities – LME/MCOs in the acronym-laced vernacular of the mental health community – is against federal rules, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS...
The result: $60 million the governor and Senate thought they were going to save is now going to have to come from tax dollars. read article
Expand Medicaid? Now’s the time
11/24/2014 by Steve Ford
NC Policy Watch
...with legislators looking forward to a new session in January and Gov. Pat McCrory beginning to anticipate a 2016 re-election campaign, there’s some reason for optimism that the Medicaid picture could change. What drives that optimism is the power of plain economics – North Carolina stands to receive an economic jolt from additional Medicaid spending, with most of the money coming from Washington... Under the Affordable Care Act engineered by President Obama, states were supposed to expand their Medicaid programs ... The idea was that expansion would bridge the gap between traditional Medicaid and the ACA, which is supposed to make health insurance coverage affordable to lower-income people by subsidizing their payments. No expansion, no bridge. Welcome to the gap!
...With large amounts of federal Medicaid money ready to be tapped ... some states with conservative leadership, such as Indiana and Utah, began negotiating on the details... A deal would mean an estimated $14.8 billion in new federal spending here over the next eight years. The money would flow into thousands of health care jobs, helping keep budget-strained hospitals afloat and strengthening local economies... Another telling point in favor of expansion is that as things stand, North Carolina’s federal taxpayers are helping finance broader Medicaid benefits in other states while their own state receives zilch.
...there are huge costs, both financial and societal, when thousands of residents cannot afford to receive basic health care – when to be treated even for a perfectly manageable illness or condition can force them to incur a mountainous debt, or essentially to pass the buck to other patients... Every rung of North Carolina’s socioeconomic ladder – and especially those rungs that now are among the shakiest – would be strengthened if a path toward the expansion of Medicaid can be found. read article
Swallow and confess, Tillis
by Marena Groll Sept.9, 2014 Onslow Times
House Speaker Thom Tillis reportedly has no comment on the discussion swirling around the failure to expand Medicaid. I do, to him. Sir, this isn’t about you and yours “saving face” by spinning this failure. It’s about saving lives in our own backyard. We are poised to give $10 billion of our taxes to other states to save lives, while getting nothing in return to do the same thing here too. Your political facial isn’t worth it. Suck it up, admit you were wrong and get about the business of setting it right by leading the expansion of Medicaid. read column
More evidence of the foolish choice on Medicaid expansion
8/19/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
When you consider all the bad choices made by the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory in the last two years—and there have been too many to mention—the one that may make the least sense was the decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and therefore provide health coverage for more than 400,000 low income adults who are currently uninsured.
That point was reinforced dramatically recently by a national report that quantified how much federal funding states like North Carolina have forfeited by refusing Medicaid expansion and how much that funding could help families and hospitals across the country.
The report by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that North Carolina stands to lose almost $40 billion in federal money over the next ten years by not expanding Medicaid. read article
Go to our Healthcare Page
Autism bill unlikely to pass this summer
By Mark Binker WRAL July 30, 2014
A bill that would require insurers to cover applied behavioral therapy for children with autism is likely dead for the year, according to the Senate's top leader. The measure has twice passed the House, where Speaker Thom Tillis has been a champion. But it has languished in the Senate, and lawmakers are hoping to end their summer session this weekend. Asked if the autism bill would get a vote in his chamber, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said, "I don't think so." ...That news will likely disappoint many families, who have lobbied senators since last year to take up the bill... read article
Most North Carolinians in the Medicaid gap are working
Adam Linker July 24, 2014
...consumer advocacy group Families USA released a report along with the NC Community Health Center Association and the NC Justice Center showing that most people who stand to benefit from closing our state’s health insurance gap are working. Many of these folks are in low-wage service jobs. The report also examines the top occupations in North Carolina where employees would benefit from Medicaid expansion... It is a positive sign that Gov. McCrory says that he is keeping the door open to Medicaid expansion in the state. Still, this passive stance will not move us anywhere. If we are going to prevent unnecessary deaths, extend needed preventive care, and help the people who make our food and care for our kids then we need the Governor to lead. read article
Democratic bid to reverse Hobby Lobby fails
By PAIGE WINFIELD CUNNINGHAM | 7/16/14
A Democratic bill to reverse the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision narrowly failed in the Senate on Wednesday, but it sparked more contentious debate over contraception and religious freedom that both sides hope will mobilize their voters in November. The bill in effect says a 1993 religious freedom law at the heart of the Hobby Lobby case doesn’t apply to legally required health benefits. The Supreme Court had cited the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in ruling that certain for-profit businesses can on religious grounds be exempted from the Obamacare requirement that the health plans they offer workers include FDA-approved birth control with no co-pays....
Democrats see contraception — which most women use at some point in their lives — as a winning issue in the 2014 elections. Red-state Democrats in tough races have been wary of taking positions on new abortion restrictions, but none defected on the Hobby Lobby vote. Both Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Murray bill, along with Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who was a co-sponsor. The only Democrat to vote against it was Majority Leader Harry Reid, but that was in a procedural move that allows him to bring it to the floor again. He said Wednesday that he intends to hold another vote on the legislation later this year.
“Now is the time for our colleagues to answer a few basic questions: Who should be in charge of a woman’s health care decisions?” Murray said. “Should it be her and partner and her faith, or should it be her boss? To me and the vast majority of people across the country that answer is obvious.” read article
Obamacare Fails to Fail
JULY 13, 2014 New York Times
...You might ask why, if health reform is going so well, it continues to poll badly. It’s crucial, I’d argue, to realize that Obamacare, by design, by and large doesn’t affect Americans who already have good insurance. As a result, many peoples’ views are shaped by the mainly negative coverage in the news media. Still, the latest tracking survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that a rising number of Americans are hearing about reform from family and friends, which means that they’re starting to hear from the program’s beneficiaries.
And as I suggested earlier, people in the media — especially elite pundits — may be the last to hear the good news, simply because they’re in a socioeconomic bracket in which people generally have good coverage.
For the less fortunate, however, the Affordable Care Act has already made a big positive difference. The usual suspects will keep crying failure, but the truth is that health reform is — gasp! — working. read column
Also see, NC Policy Watch:
Obamacare doomed? Don’t bet on it
House passes long-term Medicaid plan
Lynn Bonner July 2, 2014
The N.C. House vision for long-range Medicaid changes received unanimous approval Wednesday. The bill would have provider-led health care networks be responsible for most overruns in the Medicaid budget by 2020. The provider-networks would receive a set amount of money each year for medical services for the patients they treat, and the networks would have to eat the losses if they spend more. The House passed the bill 113-0 and sent it to the Senate for consideration. “It’s requiring providers be accountable for the budget and program outcomes,” said Republican Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary, the bill’s sponsor... The bill won endorsements from the N.C. Hospital Association, the N.C. Medical Society, and the association of regional mental health offices.
Requiring providers to take responsibility for overruns in Medicaid health costs moves the House closer to a position advocated by state Senate Republicans. But Senate Republicans want an integration of physical, mental and dental health under Medicaid. And the House would leave planning and execution to the state Department of Health and Human Services, while Senate Republicans want the state Medicaid office split from DHHS. The Senate prescription for Medicaid is in its version of the budget. read article
NC restitching the health safety net
June 20 By Mark Binker WRAL
Even the simplest question doesn't have a simple answer when it comes to Medicaid, the health insurance system for poor and disabled.
"We still can't tell you how many people are enrolled in Medicaid, or which part of Medicaid they are enrolled in," Steve Owen, an analyst with the legislature's nonpartisan Fiscal Research Division staff, told lawmakers last week. read article
NC leaders still at odds over future of costly Medicaid program
June 8, 2014
By Mark Binker WRAL
State Senate leaders don't just dislike Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to remake the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Their budget would legally bar the Department of Health and Human Services from working on it anymore... Where they disagree is on how to control spending while still maintaining the state's safety net. When the state House unveils its own budget in the coming days, it's unlikely to embrace either of the options currently in the public domain. read article
Advocates demand budget cuts to services for elderly be restored
June 3, 2014 By Tara Jeffries WRAL
...advocates say Medicaid cuts proposed in the state Senate’s $21.1 billion budget fail to meet the needs of the state’s growing elderly population, which is expected to double in the next 20 years. The cut of about $32 million from the program leaves more than 15,000 elderly, blind and disabled adults without Medicaid coverage or eligibility, and a provision slashing nearly $1 million from a grant funding in-home services for elderly adults could cut services for 1,500 seniors, advocates said in a news conference Tuesday.
Elder care advocates urged lawmakers to prioritize the grant program, which eases Medicaid costs by keeping seniors living at home rather than in costly assisted living facilities. The grant combines state and federal money to fund services such as home-delivered meals, adult day care and transportation. “We have grave concerns over the proposed Senate budget that puts the lives of seniors and adults with disabilities on the line,” said Kay Castillo, vice chairwoman of the North Carolina Coalition on Aging... read article
A simple proposal to create jobs, save lives, and help families
5/28/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
A group of state lawmakers led by Rep. Verla Insko and Sen. Ben Clark has come up with an idea that you would think House and Senate leaders would consider immediately, no matter how short they want the summer legislative session to be. It is a plan that would save lives, create jobs, and save the state money both in the long run and next year—when it would free up $26 million that could help with restoring cuts to classrooms or giving state employees a well-deserved raise. The plan would also provide health care coverage for more than 350,000 adults in North Carolina who are currently uninsured.
It is a simple idea. House and Senate bills filed the first two days of the legislative session would expand Medicaid in North Carolina under the Affordable Care Act and help the economy, help local hospitals, help the state budget, and most importantly help hundreds of thousands of people get the health care they need and deserve. There are reams of studies documenting the benefits, the jobs it would create and the families it would help.
...The Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and politicians can either continue to complain about it and refuse to allow the people they represent to benefit, or they can move forward and figure out how to make it work like the majority of states have done, states with Democratic governors and states with Republican governors. It’s hard to come up with an idea that would immediately help more people and families in North Carolina than expanding Medicaid. And it’s hard to think of one proposal that fits so perfectly with the agenda of the pro-business legislative leadership committed to creating jobs and saving lives.
Maybe they could rename the bills the act to create the Carolina Comeback. That has a certain ring to it. read more
Two to watch in health care: Medicaid, abortion
by Billy Ball May 7, 2014
...Of the measures eligible for consideration this year, two—House Bills 716 and 730—include abortion language that was later bundled into last year's sweeping legislation, potentially opening up the possibility of rewrites on 716 and 730 that are intended to curb abortions in North Carolina. Abortion rights advocates have pointed out that Republicans nationwide have followed a similar script in limiting access to abortions on the state level.
...one of the most important health care debates in 2014 will deal with reforms in how the state dispenses Medicaid funds... Republican leadership rejected federal Medicaid expansion last year... North Carolina may still qualify for roughly $2 billion in federal aid if it reverses course this year... Meanwhile, state officials will vet a proposal from Gov. Pat McCrory's office intended to eliminate recurring Medicaid shortfalls. Among those proposals, networks of medical providers would share in Medicaid cost overruns in exchange for incentives aimed at keeping costs down.
Health care advocates might also watch House Bill 498, a bipartisan measure that passed the House last year but did not advance in the Senate. The measure orders health benefit plans, including state plans for teachers and state workers, to cover treatment of autism spectrum disorders read article
Finally, Medicaid Moves in the Right Direction
April 16, 2014 by Jennifer Ferris
Governor McCrory has made Medicaid reform his rallying cry, but strategies to cut costs remain a point of contention. A recent proposal from a Medicaid advisory committee seems to find the balance between pinching pennies and providing quality health care for North Carolina’s lower-income families. Hallelujah!
The proposal centers around a concept called Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s). This system has been widely implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act, and has been used with great success to manage the Medicare program, health coverage for senior citizens. The ACO’s would build on the success of our state’s award-winning Community Care program, which already supports 80% of Medicaid recipients with nurseline support, home visits, and health education. Under an ACO, Medicaid recipients would have a network of physicians and specialists who managed their care in concert, consolidating doctor’s visits and tests. read article
Poor, disabled and elderly facing major cuts in Senate DHHS budget proposal
Sarah Ovaska Thursday, May 29, 2014
Senate leaders are looking at major cuts to health and human services programs that serve the poor, disabled and elderly in order to pay for teacher raises and fund Medicaid to required levels. The North Carolina chapter of the AARP has a good rundown here on what some of the proposed cuts will do, and the group says it is “disheartened to see the Senate budget proposal doesn’t value our state’s older adults and those who are blind and disabled.”
The state’s doctors are also concerned about the cuts to Medicaid system, and how it will affect some of the most vulnerable North Carolinians. Robert Seligson, the head of N.C. Medical Society, denounced the state Senate’s budget proposal Thursday, saying it offers “no solution to the big challenges we’re facing in Medicaid. Patient care under the Senate plan will suffer, especially for the aged, blind and disabled citizens of our state, who will no longer be eligible for Medicaid if the Senate has its way,” Seligson said in a statement. read article
Correcting seven myths about Medicaid (plus the real reason the right opposes expansion)
by Rob Schofield April 11, 2014
The wonks at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released an outstanding little report this week about America’s health insurance program for low-income people and some of the biggest myths that have been perpetuated about it.
The overarching message: Despite the far right propaganda, Medicaid remains an efficient and flexible program that dramatically improves the lives of participants, promotes work and is an outstanding deal for states that expand it under the Affordable Care Act. read article
CBO updates Obamacare price tag projections and it's a shocker
by Betsy Muse 04/14/2014
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have released updated projections on the cost of Obamacare over the next ten years and the savings start immediately... Relative to their previous projections, CBO and JCT now estimate that the ACA’s coverage provisions will result in lower net costs to the federal government: The agencies now project a net cost of $36 billion for 2014, $5 billion less than the previous projection for the year; and $1,383 billion for the 2015–2024 period, $104 billion less than the previous projection... read article
Growing momentum of Affordable Care Act shines spotlight on NC’s failure to expand Medicaid
3/31/2014 by Adam Searing
NC Policy Watch
With the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment deadline now upon us; there are two overarching conclusions to be drawn about the health care reform law and its impact here in North Carolina. Conclusion Number One is that the law has been a remarkable success... Conclusion Number Two is that Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly continue to make a huge mistake – both for the wellbeing of their constituents and the state’s economy – with their obstinate refusal to expand eligibility to Medicaid for a half-million low income individuals who desperately need it. read article
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - The Obamacare Photos the MSM Doesn't Want You to See
MON MAR 31, 2014 Daily Kos
The corporate media doesn't want you to see these images of massive lines across the country of people signing up for Obamacare. They want to bury the inconvenient truth.Whenever someone says the media is liberal, I laugh, because if the media was truly liberal these images would be plastered everywhere. read/photos
Obamacare enrollment is almost over. What just happened?
BY JASON MILLMAN March 31 Washington Post
After six long months of Obamacare enrollment, today’s the final day – sort of – to sign up for health insurance this year. Enrollment turned out better than you might have imagined after HealthCare.gov stumbled badly out of the gate, but the overall number doesn’t tell the full story of the Affordable Care Act’s first enrollment period. It will take some more time to assess the first-year performance, but here’s what we know now. read detailed article
New Fact Sheet: NC’s Medicaid Choice – Options and Implications of Expansion under the Affordable Care Act
Adam Searing March 20, 2014
The Progressive Pulse
Today the NC Justice Center released a new fact sheet titled “North Carolina’s Medicaid Choice: Options and Implications.” The fact sheet gives a brief overview of the current national picture on state Medicaid expansion decisions to use federal money available under the Affordable Care Act. It also gives more detail about who is in this coverage gap in NC and how other states – even states with very conservative leadership – are moving forward to improve coverage and care.
Obamacare Signup Could Hit 7 Million Target As SignUp Enters Final Day
Forbes March 30, 2014
With one day left to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration today said he healthcare.gov website has supported more than 8 million visits since last Sunday... the last-minute surge of customers could put the 7 million number within reach if the calls and site visits turn into people actually selecting plans, according to statistics released this afternoon. The final day of open enrollment is Monday, March 31 to obtain coverage yet this year. read
The New Yorker--Obamacare Where Are We Now?
CNN--3 measures of Obamacare's success
Obamacare tops 6 million signups
By Tami Luhby March 27, 2014 (CNNMoney)
More than 6 million people have signed up for Obamacare, as a crush of people raced to get health insurance before the March 31 deadline. President Obama announced the milestone Thursday... Those who've started the application by next Monday but are unable to finish because of technical issues will receive more time to complete the process, officials have said. Reaching 6 million is a symbolic victory for the Obama administration ... It is short of the initial goal of 7 million, which was based on a projection by the Congressional Budget Office and adopted by the administration. But it shows considerable gains from the first month when just 106,000 people had signed up... read article
The GOP legislature approved this message
March 19, 2014 by Thomas Mills
Polictics North Carolina
Yesterday, the power of incumbency to shape the political agenda and try to shape public opinion was on full display. The Republican-led legislature held hearings on the Affordable Care Act. They weren’t interested in learning anything useful. They just wanted to bash the program. read article
Also see WRAL story: NC lawmakers battle over Affordable Care Act
NC health agency rolls out Medicaid overhaul plan
Mar. 17, 2014 WRAL
North Carolina health officials said Monday that their long-awaited proposal to overhaul how Medicaid operates in North Carolina is "realistic" and "achievable" and will make state budgets more predictable.
Now, Gov. Pat McCrory's administration must convince enough legislators to agree within the next few months to get the General Assembly to approve the core of the reform proposal. While several physician and hospital organizations praised the plan forwarded to legislative leaders by Monday's deadline, one key senator and plan adviser already has criticized it as falling short on the aims of reform. read article
Medicaid help arrives for one Wake woman, but others still wait
By Laura Leslie March 16, 2014 WARL
...Sarah Skeen, a single working mother, applied for Medicaid coverage through Wake County last November after a doctor found a suspicious lump in Skeen's breast and recommended a biopsy... She said she was told when she filed that she should have coverage by the end of December. Weeks later, she was informed her application had not yet been processed. On Friday, Skeen said she received a message from a Wake County case manager, seeking additional information to get her Medicaid approved...
Meanwhile, Wake County Assistant Social Services Director Liz Scott confirmed that about 1,500 Medicaid applications are severely overdue. Applications are supposed to be processed within 45 days, she said. But that's been slowed by several factors. Two are related to NC FAST, the problem-plagued benefits program the state rolled out in 2013... Scott said county Medicaid workers who were diverted to the food stamp backlog in February are now back to processing Medicaid... Finally, the county – like every other county in the country – is receiving many new Medicaid applications through the federal marketplace for the Affordable Care Act. This effect, known as "woodworking," has nearly doubled the county's monthly workload. DHHS could not provide statewide backlog numbers for Medicaid applications... read article
Watch an expert teach a smug U.S. senator about Canadian healthcare
By Michael Hiltzik March 12, 2014
Los Angeles Times
A U.S. politician's I-don't-need-no-stinkin'-facts approach to health policy ran smack into some of those troublesome facts Tuesday at a Senate hearing on single-payer healthcare, as it's practiced in Canada and several other countries... Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) asked seven experts to testify before his subcommittee on primary health and aging. Those interested in how the U.S. matches up should watch the full session, viewable here.
By far the high point of the morning was an exchange between Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Danielle Martin, a physician and health policy professor from Toronto. In the exchange, Martin bats down the myths and misunderstandings about the Canadian system that Burr throws at her... (The ultimate zinger came at the end of the exchange, when Burr thought he had Martin down for the count about wait times in Canada, and she neatly put the difference between the Canadian and U.S. systems in perspective.)
BURR: On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?
MARTIN: I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all. read much more in article
GOP Governors’ Refusal To Expand Medicaid Leaves Nearly 4 Million People Without Mental Health Care
BY ALEX LEICHENGER FEBRUARY 27, 2014
Half of the states in the country have blocked the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, denying insurance coverage to 3.7 million Americans with mental illness and substance abuse conditions, according to a new report from the American Health Counselors Association... Eleven of the states refusing to extend coverage are in the Southeast, where nearly eighty percent of those being denied mental health coverage through Medicaid reside.
But several of the Republican governors standing against Medicaid expansion have previously called for increased mental health resources, particularly following the Newtown massacre and other gun tragedies. For instance, in 2012, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) advocated for mental health services as a better policy solution than gun control. “Right now we have broken system regarding mental health,” he said. “And this type of situation could occur here because of some people with serious mental health issues.” Yet ...North Carolina’s state psychiatric hospitals served 8,416 less clients in 2012 than 2007, the largest decline in any state over that period, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ 2013 State Legislation Report.
State scrambling on Medicaid rules
By Laura Leslie March 12, 2014 WRAL
State Department of Health and Human Services officials are asking federal Medicaid officials for a waiver due to continuing issues with NC FAST, the state's new benefits management program. Under the Affordable Care Act, all states were required to recertify all Medicaid recipients and applicants under new income guidelines as of Jan. 1. North Carolina already received one three-month extension, making the state's new deadline April 1... Under the implementation schedule, counties were to begin using NC FAST for Medicaid applications last fall. But significant problems with the system have delayed that phase of implementation.
Acting state Medicaid director Sandy Terrell said requiring county workers to manually enter all existing Medicaid cases - about 1.8 million of them - into the new system by April 1 would create significant workload problems... Terrell said the state is asking the federal government to allow it to recertify cases under current state rules in its old Medicaid system, EIS, where those case files already exist. That would allow the process to move much more quickly. read article
NC Medicaid overhaul veers away from privatization
Feb. 26 2014 WRAL
Gov. Pat McCrory's health agency on Wednesday proposed holding down rising Medicaid costs by adapting and expanding current networks of physicians or hospitals into agreements allowing them to keep a portion of savings they generate while meeting treatment goals but sharing the losses if patient costs are too high.
The plan backs away from initial proposals last year to stop annual multimillion-dollar Medicaid cost overruns by paying a handful of statewide managed-care providers fixed amounts to deliver medical, mental and dental care to about 1.7 million poor and disabled people. The managed-care companies would have shouldered the risk if caring for patients outstripped contracted amounts but keep the profits when it was able to restrict costs. read article
Health law report dispels GOP claims
Feb. 6, 2013 WRAL
...The report by the nonpartisan CBO showed that, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, Americans would choose to work fewer hours over the coming decades. The amount of time shaved from U.S. time cards, according to the CBO, would be the equivalent of somewhere between 2 million and 2.5 million full-time jobs. It was the birth of 1,000 screaming headlines, press releases and, of course, online campaign ads...
The problem here isn't with the math, but the overall assertion that the ACA will cost the state, or the country, jobs. That's not what the CBO report says. "It comes down to the difference between labor supply and labor demand," said Andrew Brod, an economist at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. "When we talk about job losses – people leaving employment involuntarily – we're talking about reducing labor demand by employers." The CBO report, he said, is speaking to labor supply and whether people are choosing to work or not. Brod says it's a "grotesque misinterpretation" to say the CBO is reporting that the health care law costs jobs. He argues that the fact workers will cut back their hours could be a good thing. read article
Expand Medicaid Now!!
Let’s drown Governor McCrory’s office in a sea of letters and cards urging him to Expand Medicaid now for the benefit of everyone in North Carolina. Let’s flood his phone lines with calls urging him to act now. It can still be done, and will be, if we apply enough pressure.
Write the Governor:
Governor Pat McCrory
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Call the Governor at: (919) 814-2000
Find Letter-Writing Info on our Advocacy Page
Enrollments overcome GOP, thrive in Fla.
03/26/14 03:09 PM MSNBC
By Steve Benen
Florida is a state that would benefit greatly from what the Affordable Care Act has to offer. It’s also a state led by Republican policymakers that have gone to extraordinary lengths to reject the law, regardless of the consequences. As the Associated Press reported today, GOP officials in the state have fought the ACA “at every turn,” blocking navigators from helping consumers county health departments, prohibiting any public resources to reaching out to the state’s 3.5 million uninsured, refusing to create an exchange, rejecting Medicaid expansion, and even filing suit to destroy the law.
But as the open-enrollment period wraps up, the Sunshine State “has emerged as a tale of what went right with President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul,” in spite of Republican obstructionism. read article
The next health-care debate
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
March 23 Washington Post
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. But at the end of this month, the new health-care law will get a third chance to make a decent impression — finally... The first two opportunities to make the case were blown. During the battle to pass the law, its opponents did a far better job of tarring it than its sponsors did of extolling it. Last fall, the crash of the HealthCare.gov Web site made a hash of its debut.
But the end of the enrollment period on March 31 provides an opening... The ACA is worthy of defense on its merits because it begins solving problems that Americans have always wanted solved... But a larger principle is at stake, too. In an article last week about Americans for Prosperity, the group backed by Charles and David Koch, New York Times writers Carl Hulse and Ashley Parker made the essential point. The Koch effort, Hulse and Parker wrote, is “not confined to hammering away” at the ACA. “They are also trying to present the law as a case study in government ineptitude to change the way voters think about the role of government for years to come.” read article
Medicaid reform a test of McCrory’s leadership
3/18/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
...Aldona Wos announced the reform plan this week, which is based on creating networks of heath care providers called accountable care organizations (ACOs) that would agree to spending limits to reduce overall costs. It’s an idea that is already working with Medicare as part of the Affordable Care Act, though not surprisingly that didn’t come up in Wos’ remarks selling the plan.
There’s plenty of time to debate the merits of the ACOs and the huge cost savings its supporters are predicting it will create, but it seems like an idea worth trying as it builds on the success of Community Care of North Carolina...that has already saved the state millions in Medicaid costs. It is also dramatically different from a privatization plan proposed by DHHS earlier in the year that would have turned over much of the Medicaid program to for-profit out-of-state managed care companies...
The more reasonable ACO plan now goes to the General Assembly for approval this summer, but there are already signals that it may have a rough time in the Senate. [It] will not pass the General Assembly unless McCrory fights for it and uses the power of his office to get it through the House and Senate. It’s a test of his leadership and another opportunity to find out who is really running North Carolina, the governor or the legislative leaders who repeatedly ignored him last year. read article
Cost to NC of not expanding Medicaid: $4.9 million per day
by Adam Searing Monday, March 17, 2014 3
The math is done and it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone – NC is losing $4.9 million per day (see counter above) since January 1, 2014 because Governor McCrory and the NC General Assembly refused to expand Medicaid. This is money NC taxpayers paid in federal taxes that is now headed to states like Arizona, New York, Arkansas and Nevada where conservative legislators and governors chose to expand coverage for their poorest citizens. go to the Progressive Pulse
Obamacare is changing the face of American health care for the better but Republicans are doing everything they can to block, delay, and defund the law.
Join the team that's going to fight for Obamacare, and against Republican obstruction.
Friday Follies: The misfire of the anti-ACA committee, Press release fever in McCroryland, The myth of high corporate taxes
3/21/2014 by Chris Fitzsimon NC Policy Watch
The folks at the think tanks on the Right are upset that the absurd anti-Affordable Care Act show at the General Assembly this week didn’t garner the one-sided stories they had hoped for about the health care law. But they only have themselves to blame. Legislative leaders created a committee allegedly to discuss the effects of the ACA on North Carolina. One of the committee chairs said the hearings were designed to “gather information about the law.”
But it was clear from the outset of the group’s first meeting Tuesday that it was all simply a thinly-veiled attempt to bash the ACA as part of a larger political strategy in an election year... Republicans clearly think they can gain politically by bashing the Affordable Care Act and distorting what it does. The creation of the committee—and presentations from “experts”— is just another part of that overall strategy, one they hoped to couch in less blatantly partisan rhetoric. But their star expert Tuesday, Chris Conover from Duke University and the American Enterprise Institute, began his remarks by referring to the health care law as the “Abominable Care Act,” not exactly a scholarly beginning.
Conover has also made widely inflated claims about the ACA on Fox News and other media outlets and used the word “fascist” to describe President Obama. Those statements were noted in many of the media accounts of Tuesday’s meeting, calling into question the credibility of Conover’s analysis and claims about the law. more
The Joint Study Committee on the Affordable Care Act and Implementation Issues (2013) will meet:
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 at 1:00 PM in 643 LOB
contact Sondra at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to attend or testify.
According to House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger’ press release:
“The committee is being formed to explore the real-world impacts that the Affordable Care Act is having on North Carolina’s economy and citizens through disruptions in the insurance marketplace, dropped coverage for families and higher premiums without improved access to providers.”
How does that rate for fairness and balance? 3-6-14
The Daily Show:
Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
Thursday February 27, 2014
Al Madrigal struggles to explain the pitfalls of Medicaid expansion to those selfishly hoping for help with health care. watch video
NC Gov. McCrory v. UT Gov. Herbert: Federal Govt and Medicaid expansion
by Adam Searing February 25, 2014
This week state executives from around the country trooped to the White House to discuss a variety of topics with the President including expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Two GOP Governors – our own Pat McCrory and Utah’s Gary Herbert – had very different takes on what was said about Medicaid expansion...
“Regardless of how you feel about the policy, the dilemma is the execution is being put on the states with absolutely no flexibility to the 50 states’ unique needs,” he said…He said that some states were receiving Medicaid waivers, allowing them to devise their own plans, but that there was too much red tape to get them.
Then Utah’s Governor Herbert:
" ... I’m encouraged by the rhetoric. Let’s hope the actions prove to be commensurate with what the tone and talk was today.”
And here’s what the President actually said:
...“States that don’t expand Medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million Americans uninsured. And that doesn’t have to happen. Work with us to get this done. We can provide a lot of flexibility,” Obama said. read article
Obamacare finally clears the tower
The administration likely won't meet its goal of 7 million sign-ups, but 6 million is possible.
By DAVID NATHER | 2/12/14 Politico
...more than 3 million people signed up for private health coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law by the end of January. It’s behind the original expectations, but way ahead of the disaster scenarios that had looked possible during the worst months of the troubled rollout last fall... maybe Obamacare isn’t going to be a train wreck after all ...the disaster scenario is already off the table. By the end of January, 3.3 million Americans had selected a private health insurance plan. That’s a 1.1 million increase over the December figures, and it shows that people were still signing up at a pretty fast pace...
The enrollment is now “large enough for the market to function,” said Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health economist who consulted on Obamacare and the Massachusetts health reform law that preceded it. The first test the health care law had to pass was to get enough customers to avoid financial instability, he said, and “we’re already past that.” read article
A War on Poverty Success: Safety Net Cuts Child Poverty
by Arloc Sherman
January 9, 2014
Off The Charts
The child poverty rate fell from 29 percent in 1967 to 19 percent in 2012, according to data from researchers at Columbia University. A key reason: the safety net became increasingly effective at lifting children out of poverty, as we illustrate in our new chart book. The chart below shows how much more the safety net does to reduce child poverty today than it did five decades ago...
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have played particularly important roles in supporting low-income children and their families. read article
Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts
January 30th, 2014 by Sam Dickman, David Himmelstein, Danny McCormick, and Steffie Woolhandler
...Recent studies suggest that Medicaid expansion will result in health and financial gains... The Supreme Court ruled in June 2012 that states may opt out of Medicaid expansion, and as of November 2013, 25 states have done so... The Supreme Court’s decision to allow states to opt out of Medicaid expansion will have adverse health and financial consequences. Based on recent data from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment ...many low-income women will forego recommended breast and cervical cancer screening; diabetics will forego medications, and all low-income adults will face a greater likelihood of depression, catastrophic medical expenses, and death. Disparities in access to care based on state of residence will increase. Because the federal government will pay 100 percent of increased costs associated with Medicaid expansion for the first three years (and 90 percent thereafter), opt-out states are also turning down billions of dollars of potential revenue, which might strengthen their local economy.
... People below [the eligibility] threshold in opt-out states (the so-called low-income “coverage gap”) will see no benefit as the law goes into effect. They may even see harm because the ACA cuts disproportionate share (DSH) funding to safety net hospitals,
reducing the resources available to care for the remaining uninsured. ...Low-income adults in states that have opted out of Medicaid expansion will forego gains in access to care, financial well-being, physical and mental health, and longevity that would be expected with expanded Medicaid coverage. read article
Also see from WRAL:
New Studies: Medicaid opt-out costly for NC
The Growing State Cost of Not Expanding Medicaid
January 16, 2014 by Jesse Cross-Call
Policymakers in some of the 25 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid as part of health reform...are putting expansion at the top of this year’s legislative agenda. ... the costs of not expanding have begun to accrue:
Five Ways Medicaid Works Well for North Carolinians
December 23, 2013 by Jennifer Ferris
We may remember 2013 as The Year of the Amateur Health Care Policy Expert. Along with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act came a deluge of information, including an overwhelming amount of half-truths and outright falsehoods. While dozens of states expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA, the North Carolina General Assembly called the state’s Medicaid program dysfunctional, and voted to reject federal funds to bring health care to thousands of North Carolina families.
So is Medicaid dysfunctional? Here are five reasons why North Carolina’s program to provide health insurance to needy children and families works, and would work even better if the state accepted expansion support from the federal government. read article
White House calls for North Carolina to expand Medicaid
By Mark Binker
WRAL Dec. 9, 2013
The Obama administration is pressuring North Carolina to expand its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor and disabled... "This is actually a net budgetary benefit to those states that choose to expand Medicaid," said Josh Earnest, principal deputy press secretary for President Barack Obama....
A spokeswoman for McCrory said Monday that the governor has not changed his position. Lawmakers have shown no signs of reversing course.
Earnest pointed out that other states with Republican governors, including Arizona and Ohio, have embraced expansion. "Too often, we see partisan politics get in the way of good decision-making," Earnest said. "I'm not sure there is another explanation." read article
Medicaid expansion and McCrory’s list of regrets and resolutions
12/3/2013 by Chris Fitzsimon NC Policy Watch
...McCrory and his Republican colleagues in the state House and Senate made the decision to refuse Medicaid expansion early in the 2013 legislative session ...The bill declining the expansion also included the decision not to set up a state insurance exchange under the ACA, forcing North Carolina consumers to use the federal exchange... instead of down the road in Raleigh where Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin was preparing to help...
McCrory has since defended his decision by repeating ad nauseam that Medicaid in North Carolina is “broken,” plagued by cost overruns and extraordinary high administrative costs.
Neither is true. The legislature’s own staff recently concluded that an audit earlier this year vastly overstated the administrative costs of the program and that North Carolina’s Medicaid program was actually operating with lower overhead costs than neighboring states.
Opinion: How NC (surprisingly) became a leader in ACA enrollment
BY ADAM SEARING January 28, 2014
While North Carolina has refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and many politicians continue to complain about the federal health exchange, the roll-out of Obamacare in N.C. tells a far more positive story.
North Carolina is enrolling uninsured people at a rate at least twice that of any other state that has refused to set up its own health exchange and refused to expand Medicaid. In short, among states that are dragging their feet on the Affordable Care Act – no advertising campaigns, no speeches by the governor on how important it is for everyone to have access to health care, no Medicaid expansion that guarantees the lowest income workers coverage – North Carolina is by far leading the pack in private plan enrollment. Even with the federal health exchange’s shaky start, N.C. has already enrolled 107,778 uninsured people in private health plans...
So what’s going on? There are several answers. Our success starts with North Carolina’s excellent Medicaid managed-care program, Community Care of North Carolina.
... [Also] Excellent work by North Carolina’s legal aid program – which established an N.C. number (1-855-733-3711) so anyone could easily make an appointment with a counselor to talk over insurance options – an enormous investment in time and energy from local Community Health Centers around the state, a new office of an independent nonprofit focused on enrollment (Enroll America) and the work of many nonprofit and community groups all were indispensable.Ironically, it is this very success driven by nonprofits and local leadership that points out not only the costs of North Carolina’s resistance to the Affordable Care Act but also the dangers of the current debacle going on in our own N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. read column
Obamacare “study” is an incomplete and thinly-veiled campaign forum
1/21/2014 by Adam Linker
NC Policy Watch
North Carolina legislative leaders announced last week that they will soon form a joint committee to bash the Affordable Care Act.
Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger stated in a joint press release that the purpose of the commission is to “delve deeply” into the problems caused by Obamacare. The unstated reason for the probe is to create a forum for attacking Sen. Kay Hagan, who Tillis is challenging in this year’s Senate race.
...these hearings on health reform are unlikely to mention the damaging decisions made by the state during implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Again and again lawmakers tried to gauge the political winds and folded to the most extreme voices in their party. Again and again their actions made health insurance less accessible and more expensive. read article
Unsure If You Qualify for Medicaid, Despite What Healthcare.gov Says? Reapply Via the N.C. System
January 7, 2014 by Jennifer Ferris
...Glitches in the Healthcare.gov web site have threatened to overshadow the fact that this month thousands of North Carolina families became newly insured, covered by plans sold via the site. One of these glitches is the inability of the federal system to pass Medicaid subscriber data through to state systems.
In a statement this week a representative from the NC Department of Health and Human Services said “...the application information that people have submitted on line at healthcare.gov is not being transferred electronically to the state.” Complicating the software glitch is that last year North Carolina rejected an expansion of Medicaid that would have opened up the program to 300,000 more residents. The federal software wasn’t equipped to handle applicants in the two-dozen states whose income made them federally, but not state, eligible.
...North Carolina was one of 36 states that opted to let its residents use the federally operated Healthcare.gov to purchase health insurance rather than set up its own state marketplace. Nearly all of the states using this interface have reported ...high incidence of the federal site incorrectly deeming an individual or family eligible for Medicaid services.
... two-way communication with the federal marketplace...won’t be implemented until later this week at the earliest. Families that were told during their Marketplace application that they were Medicaid eligible who still haven’t received notice of coverage should apply directly via the state’s automated EPASS application system. Even if their application on Healthcare.gov was complete, DHHS says that individuals may not have Medicaid without filling out a separate application. read more
Another extension for those plagued by HealthCare.gov tech troubles
By REBECCA KAPLAN CBS NEWS Dec. 24, 2013
Citing record interest in signing up for insurance through the federal exchanges, the administration said Tuesday they would try to assist consumers who tried to purchase coverage by Dec. 24 but were unable to because of technical problems with the site.
“Sometimes despite your best efforts, you might have run into delays caused by heavy traffic to HealthCare.gov, maintenance periods, or other issues with our systems that prevented you from finishing the process on time. If this happened to you, don’t worry – we still may be able to help you get covered as soon as January 1,” said a Tuesday blog post on HealthCare.gov. Consumers were urged to call the call centers at 1-800-318-2596 and explain to a customer service representative why they were unable to finish enrolling for insurance by the deadline to see if they can get additional help.
The assistance will only apply to consumers who began the sign-up process before the Dec. 24 deadline. Those who began the process of selecting a health plan after Tuesday will be covered as of February 1. read article
U.S. justices decline to hear another Obamacare challenge
BY LAWRENCE HURLEY Dec 2, 2013
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a broad new legal challenge to President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare law.
The court rejected a petition filed by Liberty University, a Christian college in Virginia, which had raised various objections to the law, including to the key provision that requires individuals to obtain health insurance.
The justices upheld the constitutionality of a the individual mandate in a 5-4 ruling in June 2012.
Last week, the court agreed to hear two new cases in which employers have made religious objections to regulations implemented under Obamacare that require employers to providehealth insurance that includes contraception for women. The case will be heard this term and decided by the end of June. read article
W.H.: Obamacare site now works for 'vast majority'
By BRETT NORMAN | 12/1/13 Politico
The Obama administration said Sunday that it achieved its goal of making HealthCare.gov work for the “vast majority” of users, two months after the disastrous start of enrollment in the president’s signature health law. “The bottom line: HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1st is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1st,” said Jeff Zients, who led the effort to repair HealthCare.gov. The troubled Obamacare website will be able to support more than 800,000 consumers per day, marking success after weeks of frantic repairs, the administration said. The site is now online more than 90 percent of the time
...the application and enrollment portions of HealthCare.gov were taken offline for 11 hours from Friday night to Saturday morning and were down again for several hours overnight Sunday. New servers were installed to support a critical database overnight Friday, CMS said, and additional hardware additions and software fixes were put in place to speed the site and reduce errors. ...Saturday passed largely without comment, not from administration officials or Obamacare foes or supporters. But it’s likely to get a lot more attention Sunday, including on the talk shows. read full article
Obama Gets A Second Shot At Getting Health Care Reform Right
by Sam Stein and Jennifer Bendery
11/30/13 Huffington Post
...On Nov. 30, the Obama administration will have a second chance to showcase its capacity to administer a website and oversee health care reform... "We are better prepared because the site is a better site," said one senior administration official..."We have visibility into the site, what’s happening with it, how many consumers are coming. It is vastly improved... On a technological level, the administration is far ahead of where it stood on Oct. 1
...as of the end of November, approximately 50,000 users will be able to use HealthCare.gov concurrently, which will be the equivalent of more than 800,000 during a day. If user interest exceeds those numbers, the administration has set up “a customer-friendly queuing system which would notify you when to come back to the site and sort of be first in line...” read article
In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up
By Stephanie McCrummen
November 23, 2013 Washington Post
On the campaign trail, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was still blasting the new health-care law as unsalvageable. At the White House, President Obama was still apologizing for the botched federal Web site. But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up... This is how things are going in Kentucky: As conservatives argued that the new health-care law will wreck the economy, as liberals argued it will save billions... , Lively was telling [her client] something he did not expect to hear. “All right,” she said. “We’ve got you eligible for Medicaid.”
... If the health-care law is having a troubled rollout across the country, Kentucky...shows what can happen in a place where things are working as the law’s supporters envisioned.
One reason is that the state set up its own health-insurance exchange, sidestepping the troubled federal one. Also, Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is the only Southern governor to sign on to expanded eligibility parameters for Medicaid... read article
‘Why Buy Health Insurance When I Can Be Whisked Into the ER and Pay Later?’
By Steven Petrow Nov 14, 2013
...As Ronald Bayer, PhD, co-director of Columbia University’s ’s Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health, recently explained to me: “One reason the healthy person has to have health insurance is that if he gets sick, ...the ER is not going to turn the freeloader away – and we end up paying for you.”
That’s the dollars and cents answer. But what’s the perspective from the manners or ethics perspective? As Dr. Bayer told me: “...The only way [the health insurance system] works is if you have a population of largely health people subsidize those who are more likely to get sick.”
In short the breach here is terribly serious – it’s the breaking of the social contract. When you are young, you help defray the medical costs of those mid-life and older, with the knowledge that one day you’ll be wizened and look to the younger folks to subsidize you. Dr. Bayer added: “Because we cannot turn our back on you, we can’t allow you to be a freeloader.” read column
Obama letting people keep canceled health plans for another year
By STEPHANIE CONDON November 14, 2013
President Obama announced Thursday that his administration will let health insurers extend existing health plans on the individual and small-group markets into 2014. The administrative policy change will let insurers reach out to the millions of Americans being dropped from their plans so that they can renew their insurance for another year while the market adjusts to new Obamacare regulations. read article
106,185 Americans selected health plans in first reporting period of open enrollment
975,407 customers through the process but have not yet selected a plan; an additional 396,261
assessed or determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP see report Nov. 13, 2013
Don't blame Obama or the ACA, blame America's insurance companies
By Juan Williams
November 05, 2013
FoxNews.com (yes, Fox News)
...With all the charges flying against President Obama in the on-going effort to stop ObamaCare it’s time for a reality check. Having failed to kill the Affordable Care Act in Congress by shutting down the government the opposition is currently taking delight in charging the president with lying to the public when he said anyone who likes their current healthcare plan will be able to keep it under the new law...
These critics include Republican politicians who did not vote for ObamaCare; these are Republican governors who refuse to set up exchanges to reach their own citizens; these are people oppose expanding Medicaid to help poor people getting better health care; these are people who have never put any proposal on the table as an alternative fix for the nation’s costly health care system that leaves tens of millions with inadequate medical coverage and tens of millions more totally uninsured.
The fact is if you are one of the estimated 2 million Americans whose health insurance plans may have been cancelled this month, you should not be blaming President Obama or the Affordable Care Act. You should be blaming your insurance company... read column
Letter: Not so difficult to sign up for Obamacare
BY LYNETTE MILLER November 30, 2013
...As an adjunct professor at a community college, I must provide my own health insurance as it is available only to full-time employees. I am also a cancer survivor. Clearly my options before the enactment of the Affordable Health Care Act were nonexistent. I had to swallow every change and premium increase my provider made each year, thankful I had any insurance at all.
...Aware of the negative press the new website attracted, I took a deep breath and typed healthcare.gov into my browser. After creating an account, I was on my way to exploring what plans were available and my eligibility. Navigating the website was not the least bit difficult. Plans were easy to compare side by side. There was also lots of help available – both by phone and live chat. The policy I chose was not only comparable, it was better than the one I had and much less expensive!
I urge people to see firsthand what is offered on the healthcare.gov marketplace. They will be pleasantly surprised. Many will find themselves eligible for substantial assistance. read letter
Turning the health care corner
11/26/13 MSNBC By Steve Benen
...For the last several weeks, the consensus in establishment circles was that the Affordable Care Act’s open-enrollment period was not only a disaster, but a catastrophe that would destroy Obama’s presidency, the Democratic Party, the American health care system, and the very idea of progressive governance...
But the funny thing about narratives is that they’re sometimes fleeting. Ezra Klein suggests today that “Obamacare” may finally be “turning the corner.” There are increasing reports that HealthCare.Gov is working better – perhaps much better – for consumers than it was a few short weeks ago. “Consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage,” report Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein in the Washington Post. “The truth is, the system is getting stronger as it recovers from its disastrous launch,” writes Sam Baker in the National Journal. Applying “was no problem at all, with no delays,” says Paul Krugman. read article
Clergy ask McCrory to call special session expanding Medicaid in N.C.
November 26, 2013 by Bryan Warner
The Voter Update
About three dozen clergy members and citizens paid a visit to the N.C. Capitol Building on Tuesday, carrying with them a petition bearing some 3,000 names and asking Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to call a special legislative session to expand Medicaid coverage and extend unemployment benefits in North Carolina. ... the group was initially told by security that they would not be able to go beyond the building’s doorway. However, the crowd was ultimately allowed to pass through...and gather in the Capitol rotunda. There, Christian pastors and Jewish rabbis offered prayers for their cause...
McCrory spokeswoman Kim Genardo met with the group and received their petition, which she pledged to deliver to the governor. “The governor would do well, rather than to stay away, to meet with us. We’ll do it any time,” Barber told Genardo....
Joining Barber in delivering the petition was Rabbi Fred Guttman of Temple Emanuel in Greensboro, who cited the several Republican governors in other states, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who “for economic reasons have accepted the Medicaid expansion.”
“Wouldn’t it be a great Christmas present to our state if in the next month we could take care of this humanitarian and economic issue, which would benefit close to half a million people?” Guttman asked Genardo... read article/watch video
Attorney General Roy Cooper says state should expand Medicaid
by Lynn Bonner on November 18, 2013
State Attorney General Roy Cooper said the state should reconsider its decision to not expand Medicaid, saying Republicans “put politics over policy” to deny the state financial benefits and working poor people health insurance.
Speaking to reporters and journalism students at UNC-Chapel Hill on Monday, Cooper enumerated his disagreements with the GOP-run legislature and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory... Cooper, a Democrat planning a run for governor in 2016, hit many of the pro-expansion talking points: the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion in the first three years, expansion would add jobs, and more people would have health insurance. read article
NC to speed resurrection of canceled health plans
By Cullen Browder WRAL
Posted: Nov. 15, Nov. 18
Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin vowed Friday that his agency would speed the approval process for insurers to offer 2014 health plans that don't meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Care Act. President Barack Obama on Thursday granted a one-year exemption for such plans after an outcry from people who said their health coverage was being canceled ...
The cancellation notices covered more than 473,000 people in North Carolina, Goodwin said, and insurers have only a few weeks to resurrect the canceled plans, get them approved and enroll customers in time for them to have coverage in January... The Department of Insurance will use an expedited review so insurers can quickly establish 2014 rates and begin offering the plans again, he said. "It is necessary. In fact, it is vital," he said. "Otherwise, North Carolinians would go without coverage." Insurers will still face consequences if plans are later deemed overpriced, Goodwin said...
Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said about 151,000 of their policy holders who received cancellation notices would be eligible for renewals. Blue Cross expects to have more details about the renewed plans by Dec. 1, he said. read article
November 6th, 2013
24 States Are Refusing to Expand Medicaid. Here's What That Means for Their Residents: Nearly half of states are so locked into the politics of Obamacare that they're willing to leave nearly 5.4 million of their own people uninsured. Take a look at our map -- and make sure you share it. see and share
How the Republican Tempest Over the Affordable Care Act Diverts Attention from Three Large Truths
NOVEMBER 22, 2013
Having failed to defeat the Affordable Care Act in Congress, to beat it back in the last election, to repeal it despite more than eighty votes in the House, to stop it in the federal courts, to get enough votes in the Supreme Court to overrule it, and to gut it with outright extortion (closing the government and threatening to default on the nation’s debts unless it was repealed), Republicans are now down to their last ploy.
They are hell-bent on destroying the Affordable Care Act in Americans’ minds. read post
Blue Cross NC to raise rates up to 24 percent on reinstated health plans
By John Murawski November 19, 2013
[For] Blue Cross and Blue Shield customers ...average increase for Blue Advantage plans will be 16.4 percent; for Blue Value, 22 percent; and for Blue Options HSA, 23.6 percent. ... many Blue Cross customers who have grumbled about rising costs in past years are cheering the news this time.
The health plans in question were slated for elimination under the Affordable Care Act, the nation’s health care law, but Blue Cross said last week it would offer the plans next year. President Barack Obama urged insurers to extend the individual plans for one year amid a public outcry over forced cancellations and steep price increases for replacement plans.
...“The key thing is – this is one more year,” said Blue Cross spokeswoman Michelle Douglas. “It’s not saying you can keep this plan forever.” The extension applies only to Blue Cross customers on individual plans who were enrolled on or before Oct. 1... many were shaken by increases that doubled and tripled their costs... Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has said that more than 473,000 people in North Carolina were affected by the cancellations of insurance plans that don’t meet the minimum standards of the new federal health law. So far only Blue Cross has agreed to extend those plans next year. read article
Medicaid Signups Are 'Exceeding Expectations'
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR 11/12/13
Huffington Post (AP)
The underdog of government health care programs is emerging as the rare early success story of President Barack Obama's technologically challenged health overhaul.
Often dismissed, Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10 states in the six weeks since open enrollment began... The Obama administration plans to release October enrollment statistics this week, but publicly available figures already provide a contrast between a robust start for Medicaid expansion and lukewarm early signups for new, government-subsidized private plans offered separately under the law.
"Medicaid is exceeding expectations in most places," said Dan Mendelson, Avalere's president. "It is definitely a bright picture in states that have chosen to expand." read story
CITIES IN RED STATES PUSH FEDERAL HEALTH PLAN
By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI
Oct. 31, 2013
HOUSTON (AP) ...Republican governors and legislatures in about two dozen states are refusing cooperation with the roll-out of the health overhaul, but some local governments are trying to fill the gap, working with nonprofit organizations, hospitals and churches leading the outreach... "If you live in Harris County [Texas] and in the city of Houston you are footing the bill for people that don't have insurance," Williams said. "Regardless of all the rhetoric that is going on, people have better access to care when they are insured." ...Uninsured people are managing to sign up even though the process has been slowed by technical problems with the federal website. read article
Medicaid coverage gap is a disgrace to the state’s good name
10/29/2013 by Steve Ford NC Policy Watch
Isn’t the federal Affordable Care Act supposed to help low-income Americans obtain the health insurance coverage that has been out of reach for millions? ...despite frustrating hang-ups in online enrollment, the law will enable many folks to join the ranks of the insured.
Yet many other people who probably can’t afford any coverage at all will be flat out of luck. In North Carolina, the decision not to expand eligibility for Medicaid--expansion that was seen as a key Obamacare feature and lifeline--has resulted in the cruel irony that some of our neighbors are too poor to qualify for a program meant to help the poor. read article
People Who Buy Own Health Policies Face Big Changes
Oct 29, 2013 by Reed Abelson
As Washington and much of the rest of the nation debate whether President Obama misled Americans when he said that people who like their health plans may keep them, tens of millions of people are finding that their insurance is largely unchanged by the new health care law... The story is different for the 10 million to 12 million people who buy insurance on their own. Rules for those policies have changed substantially for 2014. Insurers are informing many of those people that their old plans have been discontinued and that they must choose new plans at new prices. read article
Also see: WRAL: Not everyone keeping their insurance By Mark Binker Oct 29, 2013 ...some Americans did find out for sure this month they will have to change insurance policies. These are largely people who buy low-premium individual insurance policy plans that don't meet the requirements for insurance policies laid out by the health care law. The law requires "minimum essential services" that a health plan must provide, even if it is primarily designed to be used only in case of catastrophic illness... read article
Lousy Medicaid Arguments
By PAUL KRUGMAN
New York Times
October 20, 2013
For now, the big news about Obamacare is the debacle of HealthCare.gov, the Web portal through which Americans are supposed to buy insurance on the new health care exchanges. For now, at least, HealthCare.gov isn’t working for many users.
It’s important to realize, however, that this botch has nothing to do with the law’s substance, and will get fixed. After all, a number of states have successfully opened their own exchanges, doing for their residents exactly what the federal system is supposed to do everywhere else. Connecticut’s exchange is working fine, as is Kentucky’s. New York, after some early problems, seems to be getting there. So, a bit more slowly, does California. In other words, the technical problems, while infuriating...will not, in the end, be the big story. The real threat remains the effort of conservative groups to sabotage reform, especially by blocking the expansion of Medicaid. read story
Why the Obama Approach to Health Policy Cancellations Is Preferable
by Saerah Lueck November 19, 2013
Responding to a wave of insurer letters notifying people that their current individual-market health plans won’t be available next year, Senators Mary Landrieu and Joe Manchin have proposed requiring insurers to permanently continue existing individual-market plans. Our new report explains why this would likely drive up premiums in the new insurance marketplaces, weakening their chances of survival. If the marketplaces unravel, millions of uninsured people expected to gain coverage under health reform (the Affordable Care Act or ACA) will lose access to coverage.
The Administration’s alternative proposal — to allow insurers to extend into 2015 any health plans they offer in the individual or small-group market that don’t comply with health reform’s standards and consumer protections — is also flawed but would be less damaging, as our report explains: read article
Senate passes prescription drug bill with rare bipartisan support
by Renee Schoof on November 18, 2013
The U.S. Senate on Monday passed the Drug Quality and Security Act, capping well over a year of behind-the-scenes work by Sen. Richard Burr.
Burr, a Republican from Winston-Salem, and Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado were the lead authors of a provision in the law that will establish a system to track prescription drugs from the time they’re manufactured to when they’re sold at a drugstore, making recalls easier. Lawmakers say it’s the first major improvement in securing the prescription drug supply chain in 25 years. The law also will improve oversight and clarify laws that protect the safety of compounded drugs. It now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature....
The bill was a rare show of bipartisan collaboration. read article
This Is Why We Need Obamacare
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
November 2, 2013
New York Times
THE biggest health care crisis in America right now is not the inexcusably messy rollout of Obamacare. No, far more serious is the kind of catastrophe facing people... While some Americans get superb care, tens of millions without insurance get marginal care. That’s one reason life expectancy is relatively low in America, and child mortality is twice as high as in some European countries. Now that’s a scandal.
Yet about half the states are refusing to expand Medicaid to cover more uninsured people--because they don’t trust Obamacare and want it to fail. The result will be more catastrophes...
NC gov uninterested in Medicaid expansion session
October 29, 2013 WTVD
Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday that calling legislators back to Raleigh for a special session to reconsider Medicaid expansion in North Carolina was "out of the question," refusing requests by Democrats and allied health advocacy groups to take a second look.
...speakers at a small news conference in front of the Legislative Building on Monday morning said it made sense for McCrory to take a second look several months after the state law passed stopping expansion. They said McCrory and lawmakers acted too rashly or partisan and should now embrace the expansion....
Groups backing the expansion at Monday's news conference included the North Carolina Health Access Coalition, Planned Parenthood Health Systems and Action North Carolina. read
Senator urges special session to reconsider Medicaid expansion
10/29/2013 NC Policy Watch
Sen. Mike Woodard of Durham County is among those who believe North Carolina should reconsider its decision to reject Medicaid expansion...Governor Pat McCrory said Monday that "calling a special session to further expand Obamacare in North Carolina is out of the question." article
The Big Kludge
By PAUL KRUGMAN
October 27, 2013
New York Times
The good news about HealthCare.gov, the portal to Obamacare’s health exchange, is that the administration is no longer minimizing its problems. That’s the first step toward fixing the mess--and it will get fixed, although it’s anyone’s guess whether the new promise of a smoothly functioning system by the end of November will be met. We know, after all, that Obamacare is workable, since many states that chose to run their own exchanges are doing quite well. But while we wait for the geeks to do their stuff, let’s ask a related question: Why did this thing have to be so complicated in the first place? read column
The Democrat’s Version of Health Insurance Would Have Been Cheaper, Simpler, and More Popular
(So Why Did We Enact the Republican Version and Why Are They So Upset?)
Robert Reich SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2013
...While Republicans plot new ways to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, it’s easy to forget that for years they’ve been arguing that any comprehensive health insurance system be designed exactly like the one that officially began October 1st, glitches and all.
For as many years Democrats tried to graft healthcare onto Social Security and Medicare, and pay for it through the payroll tax. But Republicans countered that any system must be based on private insurance and paid for with a combination of subsidies for low-income purchasers and a requirement that the younger and healthier sign up. read column
The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare
Jul 17, 2013
2014 is coming--are you ready for Obamacare? Join the YouToons as they walk through the basic changes in the way Americans will get health coverage and what it will cost starting in 2014, when major parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," go into effect. watch video
Pamphlet: About the Health Insurance
Health Insurance Marketplace
NC Dept. of Insurance-Smart NC: Questions about health insurance? 877-885-0231
Find Local Help--Look-Up by Zip Code
New report: Medicaid expansion would save lives of children
October 22, 2013 by Rob Schofield
A new report from by analyst Laila Bell at the group Action for Children NC entitled “Healthy Women, Healthy Babies,” puts the decision of the Governor and General Assembly not to expand Medicaid into pretty sharp relief. Its common sense conclusion: expanding Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians as is made possible by the Affordable Care Act would, literally, save the lives of a lot of infants born to poor moms. read article
NC Gov McCrory, General Assembly reject NC state health exchange; Other state-run health exchanges now signing up thousands
October 21, 2013 by Adam Searing
Over the past few weeks, the Affordable Care Act’s implementation of a federal health exchange – the website set up for states that refused to establish their own health exchanges for citizens to choose health plans and sign up for coverage – has run into a series of problems. Outrage is expressed in some quarters that it is so hard for North Carolinians to peruse a selection of health plans, see what subsidies are available to bring prices down to reasonable levels, and buy coverage. However, a year ago this possibility wasn’t a mystery from either side of the political aisle in North Carolina...
Turns out [the] criticism of NC Governor McCrory and the NC General Assembly’s eventual action rejecting not only Medicaid expansion in NC but also a state health exchange is having exactly the consequences that these bipartisan commenters foresaw. In states that did take the steps to establish their own health care exchanges, people are enrolling in health coverage by the thousands and the state exchange websites are generally working well. read article
Without Medicaid expansion, no insurance for 500,000 in N.C.
October 12, 2013
By John Murawski and Karen Garloch
Since North Carolina, like 25 other states, rejected Medicaid expansion earlier this year, many of the state’s poorest residents will go without insurance despite the national health insurance law that was intended to slash the number of uninsured Americans... The Affordable Care Act... was designed to provide insurance for people who don’t get coverage through an employer...The law also called for the poorest of the uninsured to be covered by expanding Medicaid. The federal government promised to cover the full cost of the expansion for the first three years and at least 90 percent in later years.
But every state in the Deep South except for Arkansas rejected the Medicaid expansion...
Because so many Southern states rejected Medicaid expansion, two-thirds of poor blacks and single mothers and more than half of low-wage workers who are currently uninsured in the United States are left without insurance, according to an analysis by The New York Times. The government will not penalize people for not having insurance if they could have been covered by Medicaid in states that aren’t accepting the expansion. read column
Opinion: NC’s cost of obstinance on Obamacare
October 5, 2013 By Ned Barnett
...The mission of [North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne] Goodwin’s department is to help people with insurance, but in this case it could do almost nothing...
The state’s decision not to participate in “Obamacare” means Goodwin’s department was barred from setting up a more nimble exchange focused on North Carolina’s needs. It also meant forgoing $27 million in federal money that would have supported efforts by the Department of Insurance to educate and assist about 700,000 North Carolinians who are expected to shop for insurance on the exchanges. “It’s extremely frustrating that we can’t help,” Goodwin said.
...North Carolinians who buy insurance through the exchange will pay more because of the Republicans’ temper tantrum... Insurance companies were also wary of North Carolina because it refused to expand Medicaid, meaning thousands of people whose incomes are between 100 and 138 percent of the federal poverty level were not picked up as planned. Instead, they will go to the exchange...
It’s not too late to fix the problem. The legislature can still accept the Medicaid expansion, and it can set up a state exchange and let North Carolina’s state insurance experts help North Carolinians. But federal funds that support those moves will dry up before long. read editorial
House Republicans defy Obama on funding bill; government shutdown nears
By Thomas Ferraro and Richard Cowan
Sep 29, 2013
(Reuters) - The House of Representatives early on Sunday brought the federal government closer to a shutdown as it voted to delay President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law for a year as part of an emergency spending bill.
By a mostly partisan vote of 231-192, the Republican-controlled House approved the "Obamacare" amendment, despite a veto threat from the White House. It also voted 248-174 to repeal a medical device tax that aims to help fund healthcare programs under the 2010 law...
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reiterated on Saturday that the House bill would be dead on arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is not scheduled to meet until 2 p.m. on Monday. read article
Planned Parenthood Sept. 26, 2013
Test your knowledge with our quick quiz. Every correct answer will generate a 10 cent donation to Planned Parenthood Federation of America from a generous donor (up to $25,000) to help us stand up for Obamacare and protect women's health. quiz
House Passes Spending Bill Cutting Health Funds, Drawing Obama’s Scorn
The New York Times
By JONATHAN WEISMAN, ASHLEY PARKER and JOHN ELIGON September 20, 2013
President Obama offered a sharp rebuke of Congressional Republicans on Friday, just hours after the G.O.P.-controlled House passed a spending resolution that cut all funding for his healthcare reform law and increased the specter of a government shutdown. “They’re focused on trying to mess with me,” Mr. Obama said...“They’re not focused on you.”
In a searing criticism of lawmakers who are threatening to refuse to raise the debt ceiling next month, which would cause the United States to default on its debts, Mr. Obama called the potential action “profoundly destructive.” If it happens, he said, “America becomes a deadbeat.” ...The 230-to-189 vote set in motion a fiscal confrontation whose outcome is anything but clear. ... With no resolution, large parts of the government could shut down Oct. 1, and the nation’s first default on federal debt could follow weeks later. read article/watch video
Heritage Puts Anti-Obamacare Billboard In Times Square After State Announces Huge Premium Drop
BY IGOR VOLSKY SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 Think Progress
Tucked up above 42nd Street in Times Square, situated next to advertisements for Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Madame Tussaud’s, is a new political message that feels out of place in a space touting the latest in fashion and entertainment. The billboard, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation, is shaped like a federal tobacco disclaimer and warns New Yorkers about the dangers of Obamacare: “WARNING: Obamacare may be hazardous to your health” article
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina posts Obamacare rates
September 05, 2013 WTVD and Associated Press
North Carolinians got their first look Thursday at the potential cost of getting health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act - more commonly referred to as Obamacare.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina posted proposed premiums on its website Thursday morning. Rates range from a low of $145 to a high of $947 per month depending on the age of the customer and the level of coverage wanted.
Click here for more on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC website
...The N.C. Department of Insurance has given health insurers until the beginning of October to post rate information. Nationally, starting Oct. 1, those who don't have health care coverage on the job can go to online insurance markets - also called exchanges - in their states to shop for a private plan and find out if they qualify for a tax credit. An estimated 4 out 5 consumers in the new markets will be eligible for some level of tax credit.
Come Jan. 1, virtually all Americans will be required to have coverage...The Obama administration, which is running the markets or taking the lead in 35 states, is not expected to release the final premiums until close to the Oct. 1 launch date. read/watch video
Americans United for Change Jul 12, 2013
We all deserve some answers on Obamacare. Get the facts at HealthCare.gov
GOP representative demands positive Obamacare results but recoils when confronted with some
By Travis Gettys The Raw Story
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A CNN host got into a heated exchange Tuesday with a Republican congresswoman who demanded results from Obamacare but dismissed positive results cited by Kentucky’s governor. Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, said on CNN’s “New Day” that Kentucky had been signing up about 1,000 residents each day on the state’s Kynect website, which has been garnering praisesince it launched Oct. 1.
But Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) refused to recognize the state’s results, even as she insisted to host that Carol Costello that she wanted to see some results from the Affordable Care Act... Costello [asked] Ellmers if she thought Beshear was being truthful or just “joshing us.”...
“Well, you know, let’s look at again the grand scheme of things,” Ellmers said. “It is a failure at monumental levels.” ...“I’m looking at results, (and) the results are right now, the Obamacare exchange rollout has been a complete failure, a total embarrassment,” Ellmers said. read article/watch video
Millions Flee Obamacare
by Andy Borowitz
October 1, 2013 The New Yorker
Millions of Tea Party loyalists fled the United States in the early morning hours today, seeking what one of them called “the American dream of liberty from health care.” read humor
The Real Problem.
Oct 1, 2013
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Six of One--
Obamacare vs. The Affordable Care Act
Headlines Capture Hugh Demand For Obamacare Across The Country
by Ivan Volsky Nation of Change Oct 2, 2013
“A first-day rush ,” “strong early interest ,” “high volume”--those are just some of the words animating Wednesday morning’s headlines about the first day of enrollment in Obamacare’s health care marketplaces.
Though the federal and state based websites experienced glitches and delays, leaving many frustrated, the strong public appetite for obtaining coverage appeared to surprise officials and undermined conservative claims that the public doesn’t know or care about the law.
More than 2.8 million people visited HealthCare.gov and some state-run exchanges also reported millions of logins. New York saw 10 million attempts to reach the site, California reported 5 million visits, 65,000 people visited the Illinois exchange — and submitted 1,100 applications– 78,000 Kentuckians logged on and completed more than 2,900 applications, and 55,000 “went to Colorado’s exchange site.” read article
(Healthcare) Monday numbers
9/30/2013 by Chris Fitzsimon
NC Policy Watch
1,346,603--number of people in North Carolina who are currently uninsured and eligible to enroll for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace ...under the Affordable Care Act.
74--amount in dollars of the actual cost of the monthly premium for basic health coverage in the Marketplace for a family of four that earns $50,000 a year.
24 billion--amount in dollars of the increase of the federal deficit if the Affordable Act is repealed
14 million--number of additional people who would be left without health insurance next year if the implementation of the Affordable Care Act was delayed by a year
42--number of times the U.S. House has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act as of Monday morning ... see more numbers and sources
Hospital closing because McCrory, General Assembly did not expand Medicaid
September 5, 2013 by Adam Searing
NC Policy Watch
NC Governor McCrory and NC legislators were warned that there were serious consequences, including possible hospital closures, because of their decision not to accept the billions of dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid... McCrory and legislators disregarded these warnings with the thought they were just making life hard for the 500,000 lower income folks who will be denied health care next year, but there are bigger consequences for the state too in lost jobs and fewer rural health facilities:
Vidant Health System executives, pointing to North Carolina’s decision not to participate in federally funded Medicaid expansion, stunned residents and officials in Belhaven on Wednesday with a unanimous vote to close the hospital within six months. [read more]
...McCrory should exercise some leadership and call the General Assembly back in for a session on accepting the billions of federal dollars available under the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid now that the predicted costs not only to health but also in jobs and to our economy are becoming painfully clear. read article
State health department sees sharp rise in at-will workers
By Tyler Dukes and Rose Hoban
WRAL Sept., 4, 2013
As the staff of the state's health department grapples with issues such as Medicaid funding and new abortion rules over the next few years, they'll do so with more politically vulnerable directors and managers among their ranks.
Gov. Pat McCrory now has the power to designate 1,500 positions within his cabinet departments as "exempt" from the State Personnel Act--at least 1,000 more than his Democratic predecessor, former Gov. Bev Perdue...A WRAL News analysis, conducted in collaboration with the nonprofit North Carolina Health News, has found the changes go several layers deep in the management structure at DHHS, affecting program managers and other civil servants who have typically spent their careers keeping programs going despite changing political winds.
Now, those workers will be more subject to the political wishes of their supervisors.
Critics of the changes say they will make managers and health policy experts less willing to push back on policies they think might be damaging to the department or patients, for fear of being fired. Some say the highly skilled workers who run DHHS programs... are being given a signal that they’re now expendable. read article
The beauty of offering a real answer
August 31, 2013 By Adam Searing
I spoke on the phone this week with a woman who had a series of serious cancers. She was doing well but facing more treatment and a slew of medical bills from the care she had already received. She had lost insurance coverage several years ago and couldn’t afford a policy because of pre-existing health conditions.
Over my 15 years as a health advocate, I’ve spoken with more people like her than I care to remember...It’s one thing to confront a governor or state legislator and highlight failures of leadership on health care. At least with the politicians you can point out a solution and ask for some action...It’s quite another to speak quietly with a fellow North Carolinian whose individual health and family’s financial security are on the line simply because of a serious illness...
With this latest conversation, however, something was different. For the first time in 15 years, I could offer a firm answer about a health plan that would fit the caller’s budget, an end to the endless medical bills and, finally, some economic security. read column
The missing headlines about the Affordable Care Act
NC Policy Watch 8/27/2013 by Chris Fitzsimon
The Affordable Care Act is back in news lately. But most of the headlines have not been about the benefits offered by the law, the millions of people it has already helped, or the upcoming enrollment period for individual insurance plans, but the absurd battle inside the Republican Party to hold the federal government and the economic well-being of the country hostage to repeal it. read
ACA in NC--State completing shutdown of Affordable Care Act assistance plans
By KIRK ROSS August 23 and 26, 2013
As the federal government and states around the county gear up for the October 1 rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, North Carolina is finalizing the shutdown of what would have been one of the most extensive outreach and assistance plans in the country. read article
HHS salary scandal not just about the money
8/20/2013 by Chris Fitzsimon NC Policy Watch
... the story...about the huge salary increases for the HHS staffers is so important. It is not only about the money, as frustrating as it must be for scandalously underpaid teachers to learn that a 24-year-old political aide with no health care experience or relevant educational background now makes $87,500 a year as the chief policy advisor at HHS.
It’s about the confidence that doctors and patients and taxpayers can have in the McCrory Administration in light of their staffing choices to even administer the Medicaid program, much less dismantle it with an ill-advised privatization scheme. Not to mention the other vital programs the department manages, from public health to psychiatric hospitals to child development and early education. read article
Expand Medicaid! A Community Meeting Handout
The Progressive Pulse
August 13, 2013 by Adam Searing
We’ve created a one-page (front and back) handout for North Carolinians who want to know the reasons why NC should reverse its current course and accept the billions of dollars of federal money available to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to low-income working families, how their own legislator and Governor voted on this critical issue in 2013, and, most importantly, what they can do about it!
NC Justice Center Medicaid Page
Five Reasons the Affordable Care Act Builds Better Lives
July 9, 2013 by Diane Morris
Dr. Teresa Bratton is a pediatric allergist and a healthcare advocate in Greensboro. Through the League of Women Voters, she educates community groups about the Affordable Care Act. In a recent interview, Dr. Bratton laid out numerous reasons why the Affordable Care Act is important to the people of North Carolina. read article
Budget proposal worries advocates for mentally ill
By Bruce Mildwurf WRAL June 21, 2013
...a Senate proposal could have potentially harmful consequences... would require physicians to obtain prior authorization from the state's Medicaid managed care system to prescribe medication for any kind of mental illness. "I know their intentions are good, but they are not well-informed, ...what works for one patient may not work for another. Giving patients cheaper drugs doesn't always pay off, Dr. Assad Meymandi, a Raleigh psychiatrist and neurologist said..."The incidence of suicide goes sky high. The incidence of recurrence, psychosis and readmission, recidivism goes sky high," he said. read article
Arizona Medicaid Expansion Advances After Jan Brewer Forces Lawmakers' Hands
Huffington Post by Jeffrey Young 06/13/2013
Arizona will expand Medicaid to cover nearly 300,000 poor residents next year after a bipartisan coalition passed a measure backed by Gov. Jan Brewer (R) through the state legislature on Thursday. Brewer, a conservative and avowed foe of President Barack Obama's health care reform law, announced her support for the Medicaid expansion in January, but faced stiff resistance from fellow Republicans in Arizona's House and Senate. Brewer is one of nine Republican governors who have bucked their party and embraced the Medicaid expansion...
The Arizona governor aggressively promoted the Medicaid expansion since taking her surprising public stand earlier this year... and worked alongside Democratic legislators in addition to campaigning across the state in service of extending health coverage to hundreds of thousands of poor Arizonans using Obamacare funding. Brewer played hardball with Republican legislative leaders in the state to get her way, earning their ire in the process... read article
The real Obamacare shock: It’s working
May 29, 2013
By Paul Krugman -The New York Times
The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, goes fully into effect at the beginning of next year, and predictions of disaster are being heard far and wide...No doubt there will be problems..., and in this case we have the added complication that many Republican governors and legislators are doing all they can to sabotage reform. Yet important new evidence--especially from California, the law’s most important test case--suggests that the real Obamacare shock will be one of unexpected success. read column
Senate budget cuts mental health spending
May 27, 2013
By Lynn Bonner
There’s no money in the Senate budget to keep open a residential school for children with mental or behavioral disorders.
And it gives less money to local government mental health offices.
The budget, which passed the Senate last week, cuts the state’s mental health spending by 3 percent...Advocates for the mentally ill are now looking to House lawmakers, who will take up the budget next week, to shore up mental health funding. ..Existing funding ends June 30, and the Senate budget offered no broad solution to the money problem. read article
McCrory, Tillis, Berger: Privatizing Medicaid is unpopular, but we need money to fund our tax cuts for rich people
May 17, 2013 by Adam Searing
...Today Governor McCrory issued a press release saying he would ... request a Medicaid waiver from the federal government. This federal waiver would allow NC to make unspecified changes to Medicaid and “create a predictable and sustainable Medicaid program for taxpayers.”
Let me translate this for you. The only reason for NC to get a “federal waiver” to change its Medicaid program in this way would be to give NC the option to sell parts of the Medicaid program off to private companies--which has been the plan here all along. Why? Because ... then the General Assembly frees up some money in its budget. And how does a private out of state insurance company deliver the same health services for a lower price to moms and kids on Medicaid? They make it harder to get health services and they lower significantly the rates they pay to doctors and hospitals for delivering care. read article
Paige Maxwell and Melissa Reed of Planned Parenthood, Tami Fitzgerald of N.C. Values Coalition, and Barbara Holt of N.C. Right to Life.
by cjarvis 2013-05-15
A bill allowing private employers to refuse to cover contraception in their health insurance plans cleared a House committee Wednesday morning and is headed for a vote of the full chamber.
The legislation would also prohibit coverage for abortions in the new state health insurance exchange that is part of the federal Affordable Care Act, and through the plans cities and counties offer their workers. It also says any health-care provider can refuse to participate in abortions; current law protects doctors and nurses.The bill is off to a rocky start, as Republicans in a House judiciary committee were not unified in supporting it. read article
Two very harmful bills that take aim at NC teenagers will be voted on this week in the NC House and Senate.
May 6, 2013
HB 693 would deny NC teens access to confidential health services including treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention, and substance abuse. This bill will be voted on in the House Health and Human Services committee TUESDAY, May 7th.
SB 132 would alter the healthy living curriculum taught in NC public schools to require teachers to provide medically-inaccurate and biased information about abortion to their students. This bill will be voted on in the Senate Health Committee WEDNESDAY, May 8th.
Young people deserve better than legislation that requires teachers to lie to students about their health and jeopardizes the health of teens in vulnerable situations by denying them access to confidential health care when they need it most.
Tell lawmakers that HB 693 and SB 132 are harmful and could even be life-threatening to our state's teens.
NC should revisit Medicaid plan
Jul. 17, 2013
Written byFrank Moretz
Editor’s note: The following letter has been sent to N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and N.C. House leader Thom Tillis.
On Feb. 7, 2013 the Western Carolina Medical Society signed on to a letter written by the North Carolina Medical Society regarding the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act...
Since that letter was written...We have reviewed new data, including unbiased, comprehensive analyses of the economic and health impact of Medicaid expansion and a careful retrospective analysis of Wisconsin’s BadgerCare Plus Core Plan, which in 2009 expanded coverage comparably to the ACA. These and other well-designed studies by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine and our state Medicaid program support the notion that expanding Medicaid will positively impact our state in several ways. read letter
Get Ready to Enroll in Obamacare
6/24/2013 by Diane Morris
Editor’s note: This is part of a month-long series on how the Affordable Care Act benefits women.
To read other parts of the series visit Women AdvaNCe.
...Starting in October, many...women will be eligible for coverage through the new health insurance exchange. Each state is supposed to create its own online marketplace where residents can compare insurance options and costs and choose a plan that works for them. Here, lawmakers refused to set up an exchange, so North Carolinians will have to use the federal marketplace instead. Either way, a whole new world of heath care options will open up to about a million people in North Carolina on October 1.
Now comes the real challenge--how to let all of those people know about it. read article
Opinion: NC Senate budget plan pushes pregnant women out of Medicaid
May 29, 2013
By Adam Searing
Largely unnoticed and unremarked in the budget recently passed by the N.C. Senate was a troubling reduction in the eligibility of pregnant women for the state’s Medicaid program.
While Republicans have made it clear they don’t want to accept federal money to expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, this attempt to cut eligibility levels for women currently on Medicaid marks a new effort to limit health options for low-income North Carolinians...With this change, the N.C. Senate willfully ignores the successful bipartisan history of our expansion of Medicaid for pregnant women in our state and the terrible cost both in money and infant health such a reduction will mean. read column
Managed-care Medicaid a proven failure when NC already succeeding
By Peter J. Morris May 17, 2013
...Three points seem clear to those who care to see:
• We have Medicaid managed care in NC. It’s called Community Care. It works.
• We need to keep our money in North Carolina, for North Carolinians. Our federal taxes will soon be buying Medicaid expansion for nearly everyone but us.
• We need to keep our money in North Carolina. We can’t afford to send profits to out-of-state managed care companies. That money buys jobs, care and measurable outcomes for North Carolinians. full article
May 16, 2013
By Lynn Bonner
The McCrory administration’s plan to convert the $13 billion Medicaid program to managed care remains an outline as two top health officials travel the state pitching it to doctors and other health care providers.
In a national address earlier this month, Gov. Pat McCrory called on President Barack Obama to approve the state’s Medicaid request, but it’s clear that the state’s doctors and other health care professionals aren’t convinced that managed care is the best course. The proposal needs to be approved by the federal government and state legislature...
Dr. Charles van der Horst of UNC challenged Wos to use her office as a bully pulpit and stand up when legislators and McCrory “start saying things that are nutty.” Among the “nutty” things van der Horst named were reversals in initiatives that reduce smoking, requiring minors to have notarized permission to receive mental health treatment, and reducing taxes on wealthy people while having poor people pay more. read article
5/8/2013 by Rob Schofield
In the latest ill-informed and heartless act of the 2013 legislative session, a committee of lawmakers in the North Carolina House has advanced a bill that would not only make it even tougher for a young woman to obtain an abortion without parental consent (current law already makes this extremely difficult) but that would enact what appears to be the nation’s strictest parental consent for health care law generally.
Under the proposal, minors would have to obtain parental consent signed and witnessed by a notary in order to obtain an abortion as well as treatment for several other sensitive health care issues, including sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol and substance abuse, pregnancy and mental illness.
It is, frankly, a list that is stunning in its breadth, scope and obliviousness to the realities of the modern world.
Think about it for a moment: According to the supporters of the legislation, a North Carolina physician who encounters a 17 year old with active gonorrhea or syphilis should not treat that child with potentially life-saving antibiotics [or] ...a high schooler who musters the courage to tell his high school nurse that he has an alcohol abuse problem [must be told] “Sorry Johnny,” ... “I can’t give you any help at all until you get your parents to sign a letter witnessed by a notary at the bank or a local law office and bring it back.” Amazingly, even pre-natal care would be forbidden for a young woman who wants to carry her pregnancy to term. Even HIV treatment would be forbidden!
Honestly, what kind of troubled individual thinks up this kind of nonsense? read post
May 6, 2013
The NC Justice Center
We believe that all of us share the responsibility to care for our seniors and loved ones living with disabilities.
We believe that everyone should have access to quality, dignified care and support of their choice.
We believe that to provide and sustain quality care, we need a qualified workforce that is respected and protected.
We can build a culture that respects, protects and values care work, and a system that meets the needs of all who participate in it--those receiving care and those providing it.
Join Caring Across Generations to build the system of quality, dignified care we all need to live fulfilling, independent lives.
April 23, 2013
The Campaign For Modern Medicines--
guest post by Debby Dinhoff, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) NC
... it is critically important to remember the need to protect patient access to vital medicines. Patients need access to their prescription medicines, not only because it benefits the health of the individual patient, but because it promotes overall public health and, ultimately, saves money for the entire health care system.
...North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has proposed adding a requirement in the state budget that will require some state mental health patients to receive prior authorization before fulfilling a prescription for a new medicine. This would greatly impact the lives of those individuals.
...creating a strong mental health care system is an urgent need in North Carolina, where 335,000 adults and 99,000 children live with serious mental illness and mental health conditions. And, only 34% of all adults living with serious mental illnesses are receiving care through the state's public mental health system.
May 8, 2013
House Bill 693 would deny confidential health care to minors, including testing and treatment for HIV and other STDs, mental health counseling, pregnancy care, and substance abuse.
Right now, our best chance of stopping HB693 is making sure that House leadership knows how far out of step the bill is with the wishes of parents and the people of this state.
Send an email to Speaker of the House Thom Tillis now.
May 3, 2013
The New England Journal of Medicine reported encouraging new findings yesterday from the Oregon Health Study, a landmark, ongoing study of the state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid beneficiaries were more likely than the uninsured to access preventive care, such as mammograms for women, and they had far less financial hardship caused by health care spending. In fact, Medicaid coverage “almost completely eliminated catastrophic out-of-pocket medical expenditures.” read story
The Progressive Pulse
May 2, 2013 by Adam Searing
When Governor McCrory and the NC General Assembly rejected accepting federal money to expand Medicaid health coverage to families of four making under $29,000 a year, many people thought this decision just affected low income workers. Wrong. It affects NC businesses too and I explain why in this clip this morning from the Triangle Business Journal’s “Health Care Today” forum. watch video
April 19, 2013
by Jesse Cross-Call
Some opponents of health reform’s Medicaid expansion argue that the low-income adults who will qualify for the program are “able-bodied” adults who should be working and getting coverage on their own. But, as our recent fact sheet explains, most of these people areworking or live in working families--yet they don’t generally have the same coverage options as the rest of the population read article
APRIL 15, 2013 by ROSE HOBAN
...observers say that the problems with Medicaid have been trumped up and that McCrory’s assertions of the program’s problems were devised to provide him with the political cover not to expand Medicaid as allowed for under the Affordable Care Act ...“There is no crisis in North Carolina Medicaid, and there is no national crisis in Medicaid,” said health policy researcher John Oberlander from the UNC School of Medicine. “This idea that Medicaid spending per person is spiraling out of control--it’s just not true.” ...What’s been driving spending is that Medicaid has been covering more people, because more people in North Carolina needed Medicaid when they lost jobs.” ...Well, what do you want? Medicaid did what it was supposed to do,” read article
By Matthew Burns
April 3, 2013
Saying North Carolina's Medicaid program is too complex and inconsistent, Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday unveiled plans to reform the costly health plan for low-income and disabled state residents.
McCrory said the Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina would provide more comprehensive care, improved customer service and a more predictable cost structure. read article
4/2/2013 by Sarah Ovaska
North Carolina’s new Medicaid director recently turned down a $1 million federal grant aimed at ensuring adults in the state’s Medicaid system receive quality care, citing competing priorities as the reason. Carol Steckel, who took charge of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Medicaid program in January, turned down the grant...more
News and Obsever, March 6, 2013
Gov. Pat McCrory has expressed his admiration for the man he’s called “Boss,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. ...And here’s one more reason to admire Christie: Despite hard-line Republican opposition to the expansion of Medicaid, made possible by the Affordable Care Act, Christie decided for the good of his state and for poor people in need of health care to accept a federal deal that makes more people eligible for help. It’s help the federal government, by the way, will pay for...
The good news for McCrory and North Carolina is that this rejection is a mistake he can take back. The offer of federal support for expanding Medicaid will remain on the table. Next year, wiser and perhaps more confident about leading, McCrory will have another chance to persuade his fellow Republicans to say yes to a good deal for the state’s needy, the state’s hospitals and the state’s economy. Read more
Late Wednesday afternoon in a private ceremony closed to the press and the public, NC Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill that blocks NC from accepting billions of federal dollars to provide health care for 500,000 NC citizens. It was left to John Hood of the conservative John Locke Foundation to defend the McCrory’s rejection: “Once they put all these folks into Medicaid, they’ll never come out.” Check out ABC11 story
February 12, 2013
The Governor released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that Medicaid expansion is “not in the best interests of North Carolina.” The issue, according to McCrory, is that North Carolina is not ready to expand Medicaid. Here’s what he said in his release:
1) In light of recent Medicaid audits, the current system in North Carolina is broken and not ready to expand without great risk to the taxpayers and to the delivery of existing services to those in need. We must first fix and reform the current system.
2) The potential long-term cost to the North Carolina taxpayer and needed flexibility for reform cannot be determined based upon the information and details provided to us by the federal government.
3) Due to the ongoing political uncertainty of the federal budget deficit, there is long-term concern regarding the federal government's continuing of its obligation for matching funds under the terms of the Medicaid expansion.
Here’s what Adam Linker wrote in the Progressive Pulse: It feels a bit like legislative leaders took Gov. McCrory to the edge of a cliff and asked if he would prefer to jump or be pushed off. This morning he decided to jump.
I say we need to see what we can do to provide some countervailing pressure to the Legislature. It’s one thing to decide to sacrifice your own life. But quite another to sacrifice the lives and well-being of millions of North Carolinians who the Governor pledged to serve when he took office. And for what? There’s not a single good substantive argument here. It looks like petty partisan politics to me.
So please do send those letters and emails and letters to the Governor ASAP.
Tell him he needs to put North Carolina first and support the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act for three important reasons:
1. It provides health care to at least 500,000 currently uninsured low income North Carolinians.
2. It supports as many as 25,000 new jobs in health care in North Carolina in order to serve those 500,000 newly insured.
3. It pays for almost all of this with federal money. One hundred percent over the first three years. Then down to 90% after that, for an estimated infusion of Federal dollars into North Carolina of $20 Billion dollars over the next 10 years.
That’s why other states with Republican Governors said yes: in these hard times no one can afford to turn down billions of dollars in what is essentially health care stimulus funding. Well almost no one. Our Governor seems prepared to jump off the cliff.
Will you write him today? Let’s flood his mailbox with cards and letters:
Governor Pat McCrory
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleign, NC 27699-0301
And please send this request on to all your friends and colleagues – particularly those who live outside Durham County.
Ask them to write the Governor – and their State Representatives too, with the same message: Say Yes to the Medicaid Expansion. You can find your State Rep’s contact information at http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=House
Together we CAN make a difference.
February 12, 2013
by Clayton Henkel
After passing through the NC Senate at breakneck speed last week, Senate Bill 4 will be before members of the House Health and Human Committee on Tuesday.
The legislation will block the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, preventing roughly 500,000 North Carolinians from getting health insurance.
While several Republican lawmakers have worried about the cost of implementing the federal healthcare program, Senate leader Phil Berger suggested on his campaign website that the Senate’s bill protects North Carolinians from “the government turning our health records over to the IRS; government-forced insurance; billions in new taxes.”
Rep. Susan Fisher is hopeful her colleagues in the NC House slow down and take a more thoughtful approach to discussing the merits of the Affordable Care Act. full article
Feb. 7, 2013
Three Democratic members of the North Carolina congressional delegation have asked state House leaders to defeat a bill passed Tuesday in the state Senate that would prohibit the expansion of Medicaid to cover adults under the Affordable Care Act.
Congressmen David Price, G.K. Butterfield and Mel Watt sent a letter Thursday to House Speaker Thom Tillis and House Minority Leader Larry Hall, saying they try not to stick their noses in the General Assembly's business but worry that Senate Bill 4 poses "a grave threat to our state's economy and quality of life." read post
By Mark Binker
February 4, 2013
Advocates for the mentally ill say lawmakers might want to give Medicaid expansion another look,despite the push to block future expansion of the joint state-federal insurance program for the poor and disabled...
Dunn said that despite this partisan dynamic, Republican lawmakers should look at expansion as a way to help pay for a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over how the state cares for certain mentally ill patients. read article
Write a postcard to Governor McCrory urging him to expand Medicaid in North Carolina as part of implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Here’s the story: While the Supreme Court said the Affordable Care Act was constitutional, it also said that states couldn’t be required to participate in the Medicaid expansion. This is how the Affordable Care Act covers about 17 million adults and families across the US who make less than 133% of the Federal poverty level ($15,000/yr for an individual; $29,000/yr for a family of 4).
Governor McCrory has just hired a woman as his Director of Medicaid services who is opposed to Medicaid expansion. The grounds are that it will cost the state money: $830 million over the first 6 years. But during that same time, the Federal government will pay $15.5 billion for Medicaid costs in NC. This will cover 93% of Medicaid costs for nearly 500,000 adults and families. So Medicaid expansion is a win-win for North Carolina. 500,000 people get health coverage that saves lives at a tiny fraction of the cost to the state. And the state health care system gets an infusion of federal money that creates jobs.
So please send a postcard to Governor McCrory and tell him he needs to sign on to the expansion of Medicaid for the good of the state. Send your postcard to:
Governor Pat McCrory
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
And let us know at email@example.com when you do.
Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act
Ten Reasons Why North Carolina Should Expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act
1. AFFORDABLE CARE ACT EXPANDS COVERAGE TO MIDDLE CLASS: Under the Affordable Care Act, North Carolina will expand coverage to most of the 1.5 million people without health insurance in our state. For middle-income families—making up to $88,000 a year for a family of four—reform provides subsidies to help pay insurance premiums and caps out-of-pocket expenses.
2. THE NC GENERAL ASSEMBLY WILL HAVE TO DECIDE WHETHER TO EXPAND MEDICAID: Because of the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, state legislators will vote on whether to expand Medicaid coverage to those of more meager means—about $15,000 in earnings per year for an individual.
3. RIGHT NOW, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF LOW-INCOME NORTH CAROLINIANS DO NOT QUALIFY FOR MEDICAID: Under the current NC Medicaid program, if a person between the ages of 18 and 64 does not have a serious disability or is not the parent of young children, he or she cannot qualify for Medicaid coverage, regardless of income. Under the Affordable Care Act, North Carolina can now choose to expand Medicaid to our lowest-income citizens.
4. A HALF MILLION OF NORTH CAROLINA'S LOWEST-INCOME PEOPLE COULD RECEIVE COVERAGE: About 500,000 low-income citizens—many in the poorest and most rural parts of our state—will get affordable health coverage if North Carolina's leaders choose to expand Medicaid. Many of these newly insured people have at least one member of their family working full-time, often at a small business that can’t afford to offer insurance.
5. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL PAY 93% OF DIRECT COSTS OF EXPANSION—BETWEEN $15 and $20 BILLION OVER FIRST SIX YEARS: To pay for Medicaid expansion, the federal government will pump billions of dollars into North Carolina’s economy—money that goes directly to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers, especially in the lowest-income and most rural parts of our state. For the first three calendar years, the federal government will cover 100% of the expansion costs.
6. NORTH CAROLINA WILL SAVE MONEY BY EXPANDING MEDICAID: State and local governments currently spend billions helping hospitals, community health clinics and other providers take care of people who don't have health insurance. So even though North Carolina's share of the Medicaid expansion will be about $830 million over the first six years, the expansion will mean the vast majority of people will be able to pay their medical bills, and state and local governments will save millions.
7. MEDICAID EXPANSION IS NEEDED TO SAVE RURAL HOSPITALS: In many rural areas of our state, hospitals provide free care to patients who can't afford hefty medical bills. Because health reform legislation depends on new patients possessing Medicaid cards, the law phases out millions in federal funds to help support hospitals that provide large amounts of free care. Many hospitals will also see reduced reimbursements for Medicare as policymakers try to rein in spending. North Carolina hospitals can weather these changes with an influx of newly insured Medicaid patients. But if Medicaid is not expanded, several hospitals may close their doors, resulting in a dramatic decrease in the availability of quality care in rural communities.
8. NORTH CAROLINA CAN USE FEDERAL DOLLARS TO FUND ONGOING EFFORTS: By expanding Medicaid the state can attract federal funds to help meet its goal of providing
more care to low-income seniors and disabled adults in their homes and communities.
9. BY REFUSING TO EXPAND MEDICAID, NORTH CAROLINA MAY SUFFER NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES: While the Supreme Court said that the federal government may not revoke all of a state’s Medicaid funding for refusing to expand the program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services does have other enforcement mechanisms to encourage the expansion.
10. MEDICAID SAVES LIVES: Research shows that people who are uninsured have a 25% greater chance of premature death than people who have insurance. Recent studies show that enrolling 500,000 people in Medicaid can lead to 2,840 fewer deaths per year.
Expanding Medicaid to cover more people will save lives--more than twice as many per year as would be saved by finding the cure for breast cancer. And the effect will be particularly strong in rural America. more...
Under Affordable Care Act, NC can choose to expand Medicaid to lowest-income citizens...
Expand NC Medicaid under Obamacare!
500,000 of our fellow citizens need our help.
In the next few months, North Carolina faces a stark choice: Will we implement Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina? Expansion is 100% paid for by the federal government for three years and the feds pay an average of 93% of the costs over the next 10 years. Around 500,000 of our fellow citizens who make less than $15,000 a year will be eligible for coverage. With expansion over the next decade $20 billion in federal dollars will also be injected into our economy, hiring many new health professionals and helping rural hospitals who see so many uninsured patients.
Write a letter to the editor of your local media outlet IN YOUR OWN WORDS supporting expansion! See our 15 reasons NC should expand Medicaid handout for more information.
Click here to sign your organization on to a letter to the Governor organized by the North Carolina Justice Center and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont urging the Governor to implement the Medicaid Expansion for low-income individuals under the Affordable Care Act.
As a North Carolinian, I urge you to implement the Medicaid Expansion for low-income individuals under the Affordable Care Act.
The exchanges are marketplaces where people who don't have employer-sponsored health plans can shop for coverage to meet the law's mandate that everyone have health insurance by 2014...
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said Wednesday that there's no support in the Republican-controlled legislature for either a state-run exchange or the hybrid model, so it's unclear whether North Carolina will accept the latest grant.
Gov. Pat McCrory, who took office last week, has said his administration is still gathering information on the implications of health care reform. read article
Well, he did it! Governor McCrory actually signed the General Assembly Bill prohibiting both Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina and state participation in the Affordable Care Act.
This means that fewer North Carolinians--especially those who live in low income households--will be able to reap the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. And all of us will lose out as our leadership cavalierly rejects fifteen to twenty billion dollars in Federal Resources over the next 10 years and the health care jobs--estimated to be as high as 25,000--that these dollars would fund.
What’s worse, North Carolina hospitals, especially those in rural areas, that have been counting on the Medicaid Expansion to increase resources, will have less money--starting in 2014--to actually provide services. Some rural hospitals and community health centers may be forced to close. So thanks to our forward thinking legislature and Governor, North Carolinians will actually have less access to health care if this new state law is not turned around.
We can turn it around…
Every day. Keep writing those cards and letters to Governor McCrory. They make a difference.
If you want some new ideas on what to say, just look at Chapter 3 of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine report Examining the Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on North Carolina.
Write the Governor:
Governor Pat McCrory
Office of the Governor
20301 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-0301
Call the Governor at: (919) 814-2000
And write a letter to the editor of one of our local papers. And when you send it -- send a copy to us too -- and we'll print it on our website…
Article: McCrory backs bill to stop Medicaid expansion
NC Justice Center Flyer in PDF
TALKING POINTS, IN ADDITIONAL TO YOUR POWERFUL PERSONAL EXPERIENCES:
Contact Page for Governor McCrory
Write your State Rep's also--You can see names and contact information for all the NC House members at this link
March 7, 2013
Behind closed doors, away from the glare of public scrutiny, Governor McCrory signed into law the NC General Assembly’s short-sighted rejection of the fully-funded federal Medicaid expansion.
Republican legislators, led by Senate Leader Phil Berger, have been distorting the facts about what this means for our everyday, hardworking North Carolinian families. Here’s the truth: expanding Medicaid in North Carolina would create jobs, increase economic activity and provide health care to hundreds of thousands North Carolinians. read full statement
Feb 27, 2013
...If eight states led by Republicans can manage to figure out how to accept billions of dollars from the federal government to expand health coverage for poor people, it is a question as to why North Carolina can’t seem to get its act together. Every week North Carolina appears to be joining a smaller and seedier club, a group of states so craven as willing to sacrifice the health of millions of their own poorest citizens on the twin altars of political ambition and just plain contempt for people who make under $15,000 a year. read report
NC Justice Center
March 6, 2013 (video)
Governor Pat McCrory today will reject billions of federal dollars from Obamacare to cover 500,000 more poor people under NC’s Medicaid program. McCrory says the main reason is that NC Medicaid is “broken.” But that’s just a talking point borrowed from Governors in states like Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina. McCrory should be proud of NC Medicaid, our Community Care program --it’s award-winning and seen as a national model and national leader. watch video
National Women's Law Center
November 05, 2012
The Medicaid eligibility expansion is a crucial part of the health care law. Starting in 2014, 15 million uninsured Americans, including 7 million women will be newly eligible for Medicaid coverage. Medicaid is an effective program that has the potential to improve the health and economic wellbeing of millions of American women while at the same time saving states money and creating jobs. Medicaid is and will continue to be a crucial source of health care for low-income women in America and it is vital to women’s health that states move forward with the Medicaid eligibility expansion. In this issue brief, we will examine why the current Medicaid program is important to women and why the Medicaid expansion is a good deal for women and states.
see entire brief
Off the Charts
February 27, 2013 at 5:02 pm
Now that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced his support for health reform’s Medicaid expansion, becoming the eighth Republican governor to do so, more than half of the states--25, plus the District of Columbia--are expanding Medicaid in 2014 or making significant progress toward doing so, as our map shows. see article
Post on February 24, 2013
by Adam Searing
Reports today indicate Republicans have compromised in Virginia and are on track to accept federal money to cover more people under Medicaid...With both GOP-led Florida and now GOP-led Virginia moving toward Medicaid expansion, North Carolina GOP members of the General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory are looking increasingly out of touch. read article
By Laura Leslie
Feb. 22, 2013
In a appearance on MSNBC Friday morning, Gov. Pat McCrory reiterated his opposition to expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.
...A recent change of heart by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott left some political observers wondering whether McCrory might change his mind as well.
McCrory said on MSNBC that's not the case, telling host Chuck Todd that the state's Medicaid system is "broken." read article
February 18, 2013
By Michael Allen Gillespie
The decision of the North Carolina legislature to reject expansion of the state Medicaid program...seems misguided.
It is important to make sure that money is not being wasted, fraud is eliminated and the Medicaid program is running at peak efficiency, as Gov. Pat McCrory has persuasively argued, but it is hard to overlook the immense financial advantages and public health improvements that expanded Medicaid would entail...The expansion of Medicaid...is so immensely advantageous to North Carolina that the governor should support it and legislators should reconsider their decision. We need to set aside partisan passions and do what is so obviously beneficial for the state as a whole. read full letter
By Mark Binker
February 12, 2013
North Carolina would not expand its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor under a bill that cleared the House Health Committee 16-7 Tuesday morning.
The bill, which has already passed the Senate and has the backing of Gov. Pat McCrory, is due to be on the House floor Wednesday. After clearing the House, the bill will have to return to the Senate for a final vote before heading to McCrory, a Republican, for his signature. read article
The Republican-led Senate gave final approval to a bill drenched in politics Tuesday, even as Gov. Pat McCrory renewed his objections saying the measure could cost state taxpayers millions of dollars. With the 32-17 vote, the bill now goes to the House, where Republican leaders plan to take slower approach... The House plans to send it to a committee before a full vote. Neither are expected this week. full article
By Mark Binker and Laura Leslie
Feb 5, 2013
Gov. Pat McCrory says he is worried that a bill the Senate approved Tuesday afternoon could hurt the state's efforts to get a handle on Medicaid spending....The Republican governor is working with a Republican-led General Assembly but is finding out that a shared party doesn't always mean a shared viewpoint. read full article
Online Submit: Urge Governor McCrory to Expand Medicaid
From: Paige Johnson of
Planned Parenthood, Central NC
Governor Pat McCrory has an important decision before him that would significantly improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of North Carolina women and their families. By making the decision to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Gov. McCrory can ensure that our poorest neighbors will no longer have to worry about how they’ll pay for their basic healthcare. They will no longer have to put off doctors visits because of concerns over cost.
Urge Gov. McCrory to expand the Medicaid program.
At Planned Parenthood, seventy percent of the patients we treat are uninsured or underinsured. We help all of these men and women access the care they need, no matter what.
But for so many NC citizens access to care all too often relies on their insurance status. No one in our state should ever have to think twice about treating cancer or coming in for a routine preventive care visit. It is not right and speaks to the importance of insuring as many North Carolinians as possible.
No woman in North Carolina should have to choose between putting food on the table and purchasing contraceptives. Medicaid expansion could change this choice, and allow more women to take control of their health care decisions.
That is why it so important that you tell Governor McCrory right now that Medicaid Expansion is critical to the health and well-being of our state’s women and families.
Even better, North Carolina’s small investment in expanding Medicaid will help save the state money in long-term health care costs because more residents will be receiving preventive care that staves off more costly long-term medical care.
It is time for Gov. McCrory to decide to expand our state’s Medicaid program. By doing so, he has the potential to transform our state. Reach out to Gov. McCrory and remind him that with his executive blessing, he can save lives, improve lives, and create the healthiest North Carolina yet.