McCrory, Tillis, Berger: Privatizing Medicaid is unpopular, but we need money to fund our tax cuts for rich people

McCrory11092012Given the extraordinarily negative public reception to Governor Pat McCrory’s idea to privatize the NC Medicaid program and the way it fell flat in its first presentation at the NC General Assembly, you might be forgiven in thinking that this particular Medicaid “reform” was dead in the water in NC.  Unfortunately you would be wrong.

Today Governor McCrory issued a press release saying he would be coordinating with the Senate and House to require the Governor’s Department of Health and Human Services to request a Medicaid waiver from the federal government.  This federal waiver would allow NC to make unspecified changes to Medicaid and “create a predictable and sustainable Medicaid program for taxpayers.”

Let me translate this for you.  The only reason for NC to get a “federal waiver” to change its Medicaid program in this way would be to give NC the option to sell parts of the Medicaid program off to private companies – which has been the plan here all along.  Why?  Because if you sell off part of our Medicaid program to a private health insurer like Amerigroup at a price lower than we pay now for delivering the same Medicaid services, then the General Assembly frees up some money in its budget.  And how does a private out of state insurance company deliver the same health services for a lower price to moms and kids on Medicaid?  They make it harder to get health services and they lower significantly the rates they pay to doctors and hospitals for delivering care.  [My collegue Adam Linker explains how this shell game works - and how it has failed miserably in other states.]

So, what’s the big ticket item that the NC Senate and House would like to have more money for?  Their tax plans, of course.  The House and Senate tax plans would each cost NC over $1 billion and both the House and Senate plans would shift the tax burden onto low and middle income taxpayers, requiring a majority of taxpayers to pay more while the wealthiest people pay less.  Both plans leave the state with less revenue and NC has to balance its budget, hence the rush to privatize Medicaid and free up a few dollars for those big tax cuts for the wealthy.

 

5 Comments

  1. Charlie

    May 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This is exactly what has already happened and continues to happen with behavioral health services in NC. In fact, I’ve pointed that out on this very blog multiple times. It’s a shame that no one seems to care or take these issues seriously when they’re about mental health.

  2. Skeptic

    May 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Another crucial reason–and I get this from sources inside DHHS–for McDumbie’s proposal is HMO’s gave lots of money to his campaign. Corrupt ____.

  3. [...] course, all this bashing is in service of one goal:  selling off our award-winning Medicaid program to the private health insurers.  And we all know how well private health insurers have done with our current health system.  By [...]

  4. Doug

    May 20, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    This sounds like a good plan, introduce competition to a program that is already privately administered in NC. Are you guys against it because competition will be brought in? Or because the state is going to enact stop-loss provisions? Or because it is to a (new) private company? (I am sure Community Care will be allowed to bid, and be at risk to control the costs, we know how you guys love that organization). Why should the Medicaid part of government not be handled in a similar manner to how we construct a road, acquire office supplies, purchase autos and trucks……by a competitive bid and spreading out to multiple suppliers? We have to try something different in this state to get ready for both the imminent recession and the coming disaster of Obamacare, so we need to give it time to judge the effects.

  5. Nick

    May 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    Doug, Really? MA has Obamacare and they love it..
    I have expensive cancer drugs and I am unable to afford under them under my commercial plan. Medicare is not affordable either. I’ve worked all my life. Should I lose my savings, retirement, and property, become homeless and get covered by medicaid? What would you recommend? Healthcare in this country is not working and McCrory wants to make it worse.