A communication strategy aimed to educate the populous on how to avoid spreading H1N1 influenza cost taxpayers over $500,000. The means: radio and television advertisements created by the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) featuring Gov. Bev Perdue. The message: remember to cough into your sleeves.
North Carolina’s state budget is already at the breaking point. In order to “balance” the current year’s spending plan, lawmakers grasped at a patchwork list of revenue, including more than $1 billion in state tax hikes, $1.4 billion in federal “stimulus” funds and nearly $100 million from various state “trust funds.”
One major factor clearly contributing to higher health care costs is state-level mandates. These mandates, a requirement by the government, as well as laws and regulations that follow them, prevent people from purchasing health insurance across state lines – a restriction that greatly reduces choice and insurance alternatives.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly 2,000 page health reform bill. Looking past the clear party line divide, the bill passed by a two member margin – just barely scraping by with the minimum vote the majority needed for it to now go to the U.S. Senate.
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Health care reform ranks highly among the top policy issues this year. However, of all the reform options put forward in the debate none reflect the need for more consumer driven health care options. What we see at the state level is an increase in spending and the expansion of inefficient and ineffective government run programs.
The total budget appropriation of the Department of Health and Human Services in the 2009-10 budget is $5 billion, which includes $1.1 billion in federal support. The total is up from the $4.76 billion in estimated actual expenditures for last fiscal year. Legislative changes to the FY 2009-10 budget include recurring (permanent) reductions totaling $695 million and nonrecurring (one-time) reductions totaling $937 million. There was a net loss of 506 employment positions in DHHS, out of a department staff totaling more than 19,000.
A year ago, I never imagined that a bill proposing a massive government-run health insurance plan and threatening to dissolve the private insurance market would be making its way through Congress. Just as I never imagined government would ever have the power to mandate health insurance coverage for every individual, that a Washington bureaucrat could ever decide a doctor’s salary, or that the American people would be subsidizing abortions. Yet even more unexpectedly than this sudden threat of unchecked government expansion, I find myself a year later standing in front of hundreds of people in strong opposition.
The highly debated Healthy Youth Act, House Bill 88 and Senate Bill 221, will force 104 of the state’s 115 school districts to teach a more contraception-focused Comprehensive Sex Education program (CSE) to our impressionable youth, starting in 2010. It was passed by the North Carolina State Senate and House last week.
In spite of the inefficiency and costliness of government provided healthcare projects to date (think HMOs and Medicaid part D), the Democrats in Congress are pushing for a public health care option open to all. While many eager liberals are flying straight towards the shiny blue light of “universal health care,” some are taking a moment to step back and reconsider what they’re signing us up for.
Are you interested in saving up to 60 percent on your health insurance? No, this is not a solicitation. This is, rather, an article to inform the public about a state bill that could drastically reduce the cost of health insurance available to you and your family.
A North Carolina Senate Bill (SB 725) recently filed by Sen. Phil Berger (R - Rockingham) would allow North Carolinians access to health insurance plans authorized in other states. Such a move would lower the number of uninsured in our state and lower health insurance costs at a time when many desperately need it.
When was the last time you went to the doctor and asked her how much a procedure costs? If you’re like most people; probably never. You pay your co-pay of $20 or $30 and that’s it. But someone else is paying the remaining balance on that bill, and for the State Health Plan, that bill is paid by the taxpayers.
Like education, HHS overall fares better than most state agencies. The increased spending, however, is necessitated by increasing demands on services such as Medicaid during the economic recession. Federal stimulus dollars cover much of the state’s increasing obligations, but certain cuts were necessary to balance the HHS budget.
Without a doubt, compelling arguments can be made against smoking and its negative health effects. Obviously, that’s just what the proponents of HB2 – the statewide smoking ban bill – want you to think about.