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Note to NC Officials: You can’t fix no-Obamacare bill so NC can get Obamacare money

Health careIt would seem like a no-brainer.  The NC Senate passed and the NC House is expected to act shortly on a bill that would reject expanding Medicaid to 500,000 North Carolinians under the Affordable Care Act.  If that wasn’t enough, the bill would also reject the establishment of a state-federal partnership health exchange under Obamacare where people can buy health plans with tax credits to make coverage more affordable.  When NC was on track to develop a state/federal partnership health exchange the state received $74 million in Affordable Care Act money two months ago to update our computer systems and establish the exchange.  The no-Obamacare bill would force NC to return this money.

Governor Pat McCrory needs this money to update our state health care computer systems.  He wrote an ineffectual letter asking the Senate to delay passage of the no-Obamacare bill becuase of the worry we would have to now pay for all these updates with state money.  Now, with the bill in the House, there are statements from the Governor McCrory, House Speaker Tillis, and Senate leader Berger and others that while they all agree that of course we shouldn’t do Medicaid expansion or a state exchange, they will work on getting the federal money to update our computer systems anyway.

Guys, I have some bad news to break to you.  If you reject the Affordable Care Act health exchange, the very terms of the law that establishes the Affordable Care Act prohibit NC from getting money to implement parts of the Affordable Care Act.  This includes updating our state computer systems to work in a state/federal partnership exchange.  No state exchange, no federal money for computers to set up one.  That’s $40 million out of the state budget – dumb, but pretty simple.

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Alex O'Connor

    February 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I am surprised the Hospitals are not pushing the Legislature to expand Medicaid. Those who need medical services are not going away. Plus this would be more paying patients. I hear stories everyday of people losing jobs and insurance. We are going to have more and more people who can’t afford health care and that will hurt all of us. I remember visiting Dorthea Dix in the 80′s. That is where the elderly who did not have health insurance ended up. It was a warehouse of beds. The only saving grace was once people ended up their they usually expired quickly. I never thought I would see anything like that, but I am sure I will again if we as taxpayers do not tell our elected officials what they are doing is wrong for North Carolina.

  2. Doug

    February 11, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    It will be much better to let the Fed’s set up their own scheme. That way when the house of cards comes tumbling down it will be on their shoulders to fix rather than on NC alone. Think about it, it is the same argument you have in the article above…but in reverse, with the pain covered by other states. This fallacy that NC would only pay 90% in the future is delusional at best. Once the Feds finally default and go bankrupt, it will then fall on NC to take over ever increasing percentages if we set up our own exchange. If the Feds set it up and run it, there is not an implicit mandate to keep it going, and other states can pony up and help fund our system.