Raleigh, N.C. — One month after the state Medicaid Reform Advisory Group held its first meeting, the five-member panel reconvened on Wednesday – this time to hear from the public.
Doctors, Medicaid beneficiaries and other stakeholders packed the State Archives. Most of those who spoke said they have serious reservations about privatizing the system and putting managed care companies in charge.
“It has been our experience that managed care ultimately always fails because it’s a model that puts an administrator between a patient and a doctor,” said Dr. Rosemary Stein.
“They’re going to siphon 15 to 20 percent of these scarce Medicaid dollars out of the care for the people and into what they have to do, which is return money to their investors,” Hugh Tilson, senior vice president with the North Carolina Hospital Association added. “So, we think the better way to build the system is to build on what’s working in North Carolina, what’s already being developed, which is provider-led care about the patient, led by physicians and other competent professionals to make sure we’re focusing on the patient, not on profits.”
The five-member advisory group will gather Wednesday’s input and work with the state Department of Health and Human Services as it develops a Medicaid reform proposal to be unveiled in two months to the legislature. The advisory group’s third and final public meeting is scheduled for next month, although the exact date has not been released.
The health care system for about 1.6 million poor and disabled people in North Carolina accounts for about $13 billion in state and federal spending. Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican legislative leaders have blamed out-of-control costs for not providing teachers and state workers with a raise last year.
Reform means re-evaluating which Medicaid services should be provided, who should be eligible and how to consolidate the divide between mental and medical care.