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Legislative leaders reverse course on pledge of Medicaid support

Back in early November Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler told a legislative oversight committee that despite their best efforts, the department would fall $139 million short this year in meeting its budget mandate.

When Cansler cautioned the only way to fill the hole in North Carolina’s Medicaid program would be to eliminate all optional services, or impose an across the board rate reduction of 18%, he was told by Rep. Nelson Dollar, that would not be an option.

In the video below, Dollar pledged legislators would work with HHS to find to “a sufficient number of one time funds” to close the Medicaid gap for this fiscal year.

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Now as WRAL-TV reports, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger have declined to provide any additional funding, shifting the burden back to Secretary Cansler and Governor Perdue.

In a November 17th letter, the two Republican legislative leaders made no mention of additional money and told the Secretary to use his flexibility to do the best he could:

“….we have every faith and expectation that you, along with the Governor, will address the Medicaid shortfall within this authority without taking the drastic measures you mention in your letter..”

As Chris Fitzsimon writes in today’s Fitzsimon File:

“…this is not just an inside the beltline political story about a feud between two branches of government.

It affects thousands of people who may no longer have access to prosthetics, vision and hearing care, private-duty nurses and a host of other vital services if Cansler is forced to make the cuts by the Republicans’ refusal to come up with the funding to prevent them.”

When WRAL-TV asked Speaker Tillis’ spokesman about the what changed between November’s pledge to work together and now, spokesman Jordan Shaw said his boss had only offered a “best case scenario”:

“I hate to mince words, but he did say that it could be appropriated. He didn’t say that it would be.”

3 Comments

  1. R Johns

    December 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    These old and antiquated morons who are allowed to hold court in the legislative building chambers need to go to their perspective nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or their retirement communities. A bunch of old men who lack vision, constituent concern, and the ability to use critical thinking, who’s value scale is whatever the good old boy system will bear, need to get the heck out of that building quick. The next election will see to that.

  2. Alex

    December 6, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Sounds like you are describing the old Democrats who never left the building for the last 100 years.

  3. Frances Jenkins

    December 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    How is the heavens can the Democrats not own this problem?