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$450 million in NC’s Medicaid is sometimes critical, sometimes not

A $450 million variance in what you expect NC Medicaid to be spending apparently really isn’t any big deal if you are NC DHHS top information officer Joe Cooper said today as reported by WRAL:

Tucker pointed out that, on a conference call Monday, senior legislative leaders were told that the Medicaid system had spent between $300 million and $450 million less than during the same period last year. Some of that savings, he said, would most likely be chalked up to providers simply not getting paid for the services they provided.

“That’s great for our budget, but it’s not fair to our providers,” he said.

Cooper deflected the question, saying it was actually a very small difference between the two years.

But $450 million apparently is critical if you are NC DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and you want to say the program is “over budget” and so you need to sell it off to private health insurance companies:

Part of the goal of having the state contract with an outside entity to manage care for these patients would be to offer some budgetary stability and predictability, Wos said. For instance, at the end of last fiscal year, North Carolina was $450 million overbudget for Medicaid care, money that had to be scraped together from other areas of state government, Wos said.

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