NC’s Governor Pat McCrory in his budget today filled in the hole in the Medicaid program left by two successive budgets from the NC General Assembly. That’s good. But the Governor also said in the budget that, “The state simply cannot sustain this rapid growth in spending.”
The problem with this statement is that it ignores the facts. NC has the lowest growth in Medicaid spending in the nation, 3.5%. For example, over the same period, Virginia’s Medicaid spending growth was 9.2% and South Carolina’s was 7.5%. So, NC is doing pretty well saving money.
Sure, even the state best in the nation at controlling Medicaid costs could save more, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of our poor people who need health services. We could control our prescription drug costs better by being more active in setting fair prices for drugs. We could fund “academic detailing” or helping our medical schools teach other doctors about the pros and cons of using the latest and most expensive drugs instead of leaving that up to the drug industry. We could allow providers to all practice at the top of their license, so people like nurse practitioners could provide more primary health care services at a lower cost.
These are all things we can do right now to save money. But let’s start from the facts – NC is already doing a very good job.