One of Gov. McCrory’s major initiatives from this past session centered around reforming North Carolina’s Medicaid program. Dubbed the “Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina“, the reform plan first requires a federal waiver to allow for flexibility to the program.
News about Medicaid reform, however, has been slow in coming. McCrory recently reminded viewers of NC Spin:
“There’s one piece of legislation I got put in the budget that’s a secret, don’t tell anyone. We got permission to ask for that waiver,” McCrory said, adding that the state needed more flexibility in how it managed the program.
As reported by WRAL, details of the reform plan have been slow to follow – perhaps due to the waiting period for the waiver.
What is puzzling is how defenders of the status quo amazingly try to spin the current Medicaid system as worth preserving.
“We’re just enormously successful already and it seems silly to bring in companies that have problems in other states,” said Adam Searing, a lawyer and public health expert who heads the liberal-leaning North Carolina Health Access Coalition.
What about the billions in cost overruns over the last few years, including half a billion that state budget writers had to find for the current fiscal year? What about the scathing audit of the system showing millions more in waste and mismanagement? How about a 42 percent rise in state Medicaid spending in just the last decade, or per enrollee costs shooting up by one-third in just eight years? What about the fact that the number of Medicaid patients have skyrocketed by 50 percent while the number of physicians accepting Medicaid patients decreased by 11 percent? What about Medicaid expenditures for children being 15th highest nationally and a whopping 27 percent higher than the average of our regional neighbors?
Reasonable people can disagree about what should be done with our state’s Medicaid program, but to label the current system “enormously successful” is defies reality.