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The privatization of Medicaid in NC moves forward

Shying away from treatment-based funding:

Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration is moving to change the government insurance program for 1.7 million of the state’s elderly, disabled and poor residents to a system where providers are paid set rates for each person they treat. As it is now, the government pays fees for each medical treatment or service.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Cary Republican and advisory committee member, said he was concerned about managed care insurance companies coming in to take over big parts of the Medicaid program. He asked whether insurance companies would be needed.

Adam Searing, director of the N.C. Health Access Coalition, has been critical of McCrory’s rap on Medicaid. Searing, whose organization advocates for low-income and working class people, was also critical of Atlas for not presenting what Searing said would have been a complete picture of managed care.

They don't want a complete picture. All they needed to see was "capped payments" and the love affair was off to a great start.

Durham Public Schools to hold community meetings on suspensions and expulsions

The Durham public school system is hosting 4 meetings to gather community input on how to find alternatives to suspensions and expulsions. It is vital for all members of the Durham community to participate in these discussions. There will be an opportunity to express frustrations, while also offering some proposed solutions. Currently, there are 4 public meetings scheduled:

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7: 10:30AM-12:00PM
THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT CENTER, 2107 HILLANDALE ROAD

MONDAY, DECEMBER 9: 6:30PM-8:00PM
NORTHERN HIGH SCHOOL, 117 TOM WILKINSON ROAD

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10: 6:30PM-8:00PM*
SOUTHERN HIGH SCHOOL 800 CLAYTON ROAD
*THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS (OCR) HAS BEEN INVITED TO THIS PUBLIC MEETING

MONDAY, DEC. 16, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
WHITE ROCK BAPTIST CHURCH, 3400 FAYETTEVILLE ST

My brother is a navigator ...

A heartwarming note received from a friend of a friend. Reprinted here without identifying details.

My brother is a “Navigator” in another state, where he assists people face-to-face by appointment to sign up for healthcare on the federal marketplace. There is so much demand for getting insurance through the exchange, now that the website is working, that his office has extended hours from daytime to every evening and weekends.

  • I have a 30 year-old niece (single) with an AGI of about $15,000.00 who is signing up for health insurance at a cost of $25.00 per month.
  • I have a 50 something brother (single) with similar income who will be signing up for about the same premium as my niece.
  • I have a married 30 something nephew with one child and another on the way with a household income of around $25,000 who will be signing his family up.

NC is ALEC laboratory

The Guardian is out with part two of their series on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate-funded ultra-conservative group that has pushed "model legislation" in state houses around the country.

This installment of their series looks at ALEC's agenda for the next few months. Hmm.... does this look familiar?

Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers' compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.

Governor McEnergy gets excited, blows a transformer

"Finally! Something I'm slightly less unqualified to talk about."

McCrory said exploration is part of a two-pronged approach to make the energy industry a sector that will help North Carolina come roaring out of the recession. The other, he said, is promoting power generation. Charlotte-based Duke Energy Corp. is the nation's largest electric power company. McCrory, who previously worked for Duke, said the state needs to look at tax policies that promote power generation.

The governor on Wednesday praised a law passed in 2013 laying out the regulatory framework for building wind farms to create energy. McCrory also said he wants to examine next year the balance between what he called subsidies received to produce renewable energy and the rates charged to consumers.

And when you do, what you'll see is the cost of renewable energy is a tiny fraction of what ratepayers are forced to pay your former(?) employer, compared to CWIP (Construction Work In Progress) and the recent merger fiasco. And when Duke Energy is finally forced to clean up coal ash ponds, they're going to (try to) charge us for that mistake, as well. But with Art Pope pulling your strings, I'm sure none of that will come up.

Teacher turnover rate in NC climbs to 14%

A number that will likely continue climbing once short-term contracts become the norm:

An annual report shows that more North Carolina teachers left their jobs in 2012-13 than in previous school years.

Out of the 95,028 teachers employed, 13,616 teachers left their districts, resulting in an overall state turnover rate of about 14 percent, or about one out of every seven teachers. That number is a slight increase from the previous year’s turnover rate of 12 percent and 11 percent in 2010-11.

While a healthy portion of those teachers moved to another district, that can be a red flag of other problems, such as low home ownership or a spouse being forced to take a job elsewhere. There are very few green flags associated with a high turnover rate.

Rev. Barber found guilty of 2 Moral Monday charges

What a crock.

A judge in Wake County district court on Wednesday dismissed one charge against the Rev. William Barber, the architect of the weekly protests at the N.C. legislature this summer, and found him guilty of second-degree trespass and violating one of the N.C. Legislative Building rules.

How can one trespass on one's own property? The NC Capitol belongs to the people.

Defense attorneys Scott Holmes and Irv Joyner argued shortly that the legislative building rules were too vague to be constitutional.

Extrapolating from that theory, the attorneys further argued that because of the vagueness of the rule, the trespass charge could not stand.

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