Day: July 23, 2013

Pat McCrory 4On July 1, NC Medicaid moved the way it pays doctors and hospitals to care for Medicaid patients to a new system.  Over the last three weeks, many health care practices have experienced major problems with not getting paid.  I have heard of medical practices who haven’t been paid for a month of claims, who have had to take out $400,000 short term loans to keep operating and who, at this point, are literally about to go out of business.  Clearly Governor Pat McCrory and his Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos are failing the first test of their plans to make big changes in our Medicaid system.

North Carolina’s Medicaid program – health and elder care coverage for low income people – has been tops on Governor McCrory’s list for changing what he has repeatedly called a “broken system” ever since he came into office.  This is the same Medicaid system that US Sen. Richard Burr presented a national award to earlier this year for NC’s outstanding Medicaid “quality and efficiency” while posting the lowest cost growth in the nation.

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Married couple making $1 million with two kids?  This family gets a minimum $12,000 tax cut under NC tax cut bill signed by Governor McCrory today.  Millionaire?  Average $9,000 tax break under the bill.  The state budget debated today that Governor McCrory will sign tomorrow?  $8 million in cuts for the AIDS drug assistance program for low income people.  $850,000 cut to public dental health program in schools, 15 dental health positions eliminated.   Governor McCrory and the General Assembly have shown clearly where their priorities lay.  Shower generous benefits on the wealthy and cut health care for the young and the sick.  Immoral.

Echoing similar sentiments from elsewhere in the education community, the Macon County Board of Education passed a resolution yesterday opposing the proposed state budget’s cuts to public education.

(Macon County, pop. 33,869, is a mountainous area largely covered by the Nantahala National Forest north of the Georgian border.)

The resolution takes aim at the legislature for slashing funding for teachers assistants by 20 percent, eliminating teacher tenure and diverting $10 million in 2014-15 to a school voucher program that would use taxpayer money to send low-income children to private schools.

“[The budget] we believe have tremendous potential to harm the interest of public education in general and the students and parents who avail themselves of it in particular,” the resolution reads.

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Tucked away at the end of today’s massive additions to the bill formerly known only as the “Voter Information Verification Act,” H589, is a provision (at Part 58) that allows lawmakers to keep communications and documents during the redistricting process secret so long as they pass them through their attorneys.

Ҥ 120-133. Redistricting communications.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all drafting and information requests to  legislative employees and documents prepared by legislative employees for legislators  concerning redistricting the North Carolina General Assembly or the Congressional Districts  are no longer confidential and become public records upon the act establishing the relevant  district plan becoming law.

(b) Nothing in this section nor in Chapter 132 of the General Statutes shall be construed  as a waiver of the common-law attorney-client privilege nor of the common law work product doctrine . . .

The provision attempts to codify a court ruling in the pending redistricting case which, as we reported previously, resulted in lawmakers being able to withhold from disclosure an array of documents and communications relating to the development of the 2011 redistricting plans — in effect, pushing much of the entire process behind closed doors.

 

 

 

If you can guess the answer to this question, you will have all the information you need to know about the 2013 North Carolina legislative session. Ready? Here goes:

Which of the following important dollar amounts in the North Carolina General Statutes have state lawmakers decided to raise by 25% and link to the Consumer Price Index maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics?

a) The state minimum wage
b) The per pupil allocation for each public school student
c) The weekly unemployment benefit drawn by claimants who are out-of-work due to plant closings
d) The maximum amount that big money campaign  contributors may bestow upon any one candidate during an election cycle

Got your answer? See the top comment below to see if you are right…