NC Medicaid Reform

After floating a trial balloon for privatizing Medicaid that sunk rapidly among the health care providers of the state, Deputy Assistant Guvnor Pat has now rolled out his proposed Medicaid reform plan, which relies heavily on Accountable Care Organizations. This plan has a far more favorable view from healthcare providers and payers.

Yeah, we know it's hard to believe that (1) Queen Aldona and DAG McCrony could apparently get something largely right (still to be determined); and (2) Queen Aldona and DAG McCrony could actually admit that their initial proposal was a disaster and make actual substantive changes.

Sec. Sebelius blasts GOP governors in five Southern States

From the Hill:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius lashed out Tuesday at the governors in five Southern states, and Rick Perry (R-Texas) in particular, for “playing politics with people’s lives” by refusing to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.

Speaking in an interview on HuffPostLive, Sebelius called their decisions “an outrage,” and urged the constituents of those states to pressure their legislatures and let their governors know this is “not acceptable.”

“The worst situation is in the states that so far have not decided to take up the offer of the fed government to expand Medicaid … in the five states with the highest level of uninsured African-Americans, four out of five of those — Texas, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida — are not expanding Medicaid,” she said.

Former DHHS Secretary, Lanier Cansler, on Medicaid

State decisions needed on Medicaid funding from the Sunday editions of Asheville C-T
Jan 26, 2014 | Lanier Cansler OPINION ... Part two of a two-part guest commentary There are two fundamental questions that must be answered if we are going to achieve successful Medicaid reform. First, is the program ...

Medicaid program needs budget goals
Jan 19, 2014 | Lanier Cansler OPINION ... Part one of a two-part guest commentary There has been significant discussion over the past year about North Carolina's Medicaid program. Gov. Pat McCrory and DHHS Secretary Aldona Vos...

WRAL web cast of Leg. Oversight Committee on NC DHHS

from Twitter:

Rosemary Hoban@rosehoban Wos reply to McKisskck: communication is complicated, we will try to do better. ‪#‎NCDHHS‬ ‪#‎NCGA‬ Don't they have 20+ comm's ppl on staff?

-from the Legislative Oversight Committee now in session at NC legislature. You can listen in at

Medicaid cards sent to the wrong address, food stamps delayed for months ... NC Secretary of Health & Human Services Wos is explaining to lawmakers. Watch it LIVE NOW on

NC DHHS adds "Because Obamacare" to their list of excuses

Trying to soothe growling stomachs with handy memes:

DHHS officials said Sunday that NC FAST isn’t the only contributor to the backlog and that its own data overstates the problem.

Julie Henry, a spokeswoman for DHHS, said troublesome factors included a new computer system, increased county workloads and adjustments to accommodate the new health care law. That created a “perfect storm” partly responsible for the growth in overdue food stamp applications.

In related news, it's now being reported that the deluge which swept through central North Carolina on Saturday, combining high winds, flash floods and a few stealth tornadoes, was also a byproduct of the Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid expansion, 2015

If medicaid is expanded in NC it will be in 2015.

It will give the hospital industry time to gear up their lobbying arm and have an impact on NCGA. They will then be dealing with the winners of the 2014 state election and not those currently running to be re-elected and subject to right wing criticism on the issue.

Expansion the year before he is up for re-election will allow McCrory to claim he has 'fixed' the medicaid program here--perhaps by replacing Aldona Wos (A small sacrifice for a second term as governor.) He can then bask in the warmth of those happy with their new coverage. And receive campaign contributions from the hospital lobby. It will please moderate voters and allow McCrory to say he is truly the moderate he claimed he was during his first gubernatorial campaign, pulling their votes back in his direction for 2016.

Civitas behind campaign to defund Medicaid

As you may know, the UK newspaper the Guardian is running a series on leaked documents from the American Legislative Exchange Council, the industry lobbying group that has pushed "model" extremist conservative legislation, including "stand your ground" gun laws, through many state houses.

In this installment, they discover that Art Pope's foundation Civitas developed a campaign to discredit Medicaid and sought monies through ALEC to implement it.

What's not quite right about this is that Civitas is officially an "educational" non-profit, not a lobbying organization, under IRS and campaign finance regulations. The Guardian is publishing the series, questioning whether this direct lobbying and advertising is illegal (lobbying organizations have to report on their activities and funding).

Also interesting - their language and talking points seem to have been coordinated with the McCrory administration.

Your Republican Governor

Richard (RJ) Eskow was on Fox Business with Neil Cavuto recently. Since New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is positioning himself to run for president as a moderate Republican and since Fox Republicans can't have that, Cavuto invited Eskow on to bash Christie for him.

NC DHHS revolving door spins again

And this time a boatload of taxpayer's money is going through the door, too:

Steckel is leaving her $210,000 state position to be senior director of public policy at WellCare Health Plans, which provides managed care plans for Medicaid and Medicare.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is working on a plan to transform Medicaid that will open the $13 billion government health insurance program for the poor, elderly and disabled to management by private companies. They call the plan the “Partnership for a Healthy North Carolina,” and Steckel had the lead role in creating it.

This story could be a an entire chapter in Business Ethics 101, a model of what not to do. But it probably won't be mentioned in any Legislative oversight hearings, because the NC GOP thinks private companies should be running the government anyway.

From Binker: Head of NC Medicaid resigns

What gives?

Carol Steckel resigned Monday as the director of North Carolina's Medicaid program. Steckel was brought in from Louisiana last spring to overhaul the Medicaid program, which has suffered repeated cost overruns in recent years.

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