NC Medicaid “broken”? Not really – new evidence contradicts state auditor, Governor McCrory

Pat McCrory 4This was the first quote from State Auditor Beth Wood in the front-page, prominently-headlined News and Observer back in January of this year after a Medicaid audit was presented at a joint news conference held by Wood and Governor Pat McCrory:

BioPagePortraitAdministrative spending is 38 percent higher compared to the average of nine states with Medicaid programs of similar size, Wood said, or $180 million more than the average.

Here’s the first paragraph from today’s News and Observer story, “Legislative report conflicts with state audit on Medicaid costs”:

Administrative costs in the state Medicaid program are relatively low compared to other states, according to a report by the state legislature’s Fiscal Research Division.  The report contradicts findings from a state audit released earlier this year that found North Carolina was spending a higher percentage of its money on administration that other states.  Gov. Pat McCrory has used the audit to push the narrative that Medicaid is “broken” and needs reform.

So, we go from breathless headlines – and these were across multiple media and not just in the News and Observer – about how horrible the Medicaid program is with regard to administrative costs to the facts which are, unfortunately, completely different.  North Carolina actually has some of the lowest administrative costs of all the states studied, not the highest. The Governor and General Assembly used this false assertion about supposedly high administrative costs in Medicaid as one of the major reasons for their refusal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act using 100% federal money to 500,000 North Carolinians.

If you follow this blog, you could have gotten an idea about this huge misrepresentation of the facts back in March when I posted video of NC’s now-resigned Medicaid director making exactly the same point at a legislative hearing.  Unfortunately, these particular facts didn’t meet the party line from the Governor back then and no more was heard from the administration on this huge mistake.

This false portrayal of NC’s Medicaid program is infuriating to me and the many, many people I meet who would be eligible for health care around the state but are not because of McCrory and the General Assembly’s failure to expand Medicaid. To the audiences I speak to I will now add one more player in the effort to not expand Medicaid in NC:  Our NC State Auditor.  Even when confronted with clear evidence that she made a huge mistake in her report – a report that was used to deny half a million people in our state health care – she refuses to own up to the problem and move on. Everyone makes mistakes.  This one has enormous and serious ramifications for the health of our citizens.


  1. Alex

    November 25, 2013 at 7:30 am

    The Federal government has no money for expanded Medicaid. All of it will have to be borrowed or “printed”, and our children will end up paying for it. We can’t even pay for our current entitlements much less expansions.We currently add $1.5 Billion dollars each day to our deficit !

  2. Genembridges

    November 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Poor Alex. He can make it to the internet. He can even navigate to this place to drop comments, but apparently using Google to do an elementary search is a skill that eludes him. The federal deficit, Alex is shrinking very rapidly, particularly where it matters, as a percentage of GDP. Speaking if GDP, Alex, do you remember that pesky government shutdown? That cost us a whole bunch of early fourth quarter growth in GDP, projected at about a percentage point. The Tea a Party built that. So if the deficit ticks up a tad because we lost a percentage point due to the shutdown, don’t blame that on anybody but them. Also, maybe spending on some things like Medicaid would go down if welfare queens like Walmart would pay wages and offer benefits that did not bloat the rolls. Also, Medicaid covers low income earners. The lower your socioeconomic status, the more likely you are to access sick care. Sick care access, far more than preventive care access, drives healthcare costs higher.

    Next time offer responses that can’t be so easily dismantled via using a simple Google search.

  3. gregflynn

    November 25, 2013 at 8:48 am

  4. Alan

    November 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Alex posts repeatedly here about “entitlements”, yet has no issue with corporate welfare. Same old tired GOP talking points, just another day…

  5. GOP Rules

    November 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

    expect to see ML congratulate and or agree with Alan/ML/Policy Watch Employee in 3….2….1….

  6. Civitas Sockpuppet #1

    November 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Way to go GOP Rules, you tell’em!

  7. ML

    November 25, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Dynamite drop in GOP. One again nothing to say in regards to the post.

  8. Alan

    November 25, 2013 at 11:59 am

    I’m losing track of all the sockpuppets…

  9. Alex

    November 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Poor old Genembridges and flynn probably don’t understand the economy, so they have to rely on Democratic pundits for most of their information. Those guys are celebrating almost a $700 billion dollar deficit which I guess sounds good compared to the previous 4 $Trillion dollar deficits under Obama.They left out however some important facts about the number….namely one time large repayments to the government from AIG, Fannie Mae,Freddie Mac, and the sale of GM stock. Added to this was a large transfer of interest income to the Treasury from the debt held over in the Federal Reserve off the books.Add all of these one-time settlements, figure in the sequester and the hike in taxes, and things don’t look nearly as good .It’s not a pretty picture no matter how you spin it.

  10. GOP Rules

    November 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    So Alan/ML/Policy Watch Sock Puppet #1/Civitas Sock Puppet #1:

    You can’t tell your fellow sock puppets from each other. You need to get a better handle on your brethren. There are too many Policy Watch people spamming these comments.

  11. Adam Searing

    November 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    Facts are hard things. The deficit is going down. The stock market has doubled since Obama took office. In states that expanded Medicaid hundreds of thousands of people are getting insurance for the first time.

  12. Alan

    November 25, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    Sounds to me poor old Alex is the one having trouble understanding economics. Perhaps it’s the constant drone of the Faux News misinformation machine, drowning out actual data vs. made up “news”.

    Alex, I do believe you’re the one doing the spinning… did you pull all that from your Civitas daily talking points?

  13. Alex

    November 26, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Facts are hard things Adam. The fact that the deficit is going down means nothing because it was at such record highs. We’re still bleeding red ink to the tune of $1.5 billion dollars a day ! The stock market rise is being fueled by all of the cheap money being printed over at the Federal reserve, and will probably plummet once the easy money stops. So, the 1%’s have made tons of money while Main St which is not even in the market. has struggled. It has done nothing for the economy as 11 million people still look for work.

  14. Civitas Sockpuppet #1

    November 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

    And Alex, yet again, obsessing over getting the last word in…. OCD?

Check Also

Oklahoma voters approve constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid

[Cross-posted from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Critics say hikes could have 'devastating impact,' serve as 'another form of voter su [...]

While COVID-19 has cancelled a lot of things this year, it hasn’t cancelled the 2020 Census. The pro [...]

Last year, after four consecutive years of poor academic performance, state lawmakers rewarded North [...]

Chancellor's failure to share health department reopening recommendations called a "breach [...]

History reminds us that it is a familiar pattern with autocrats and delusional politicians who perce [...]

The post Stamping out a fair election appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

I am a white woman, educated in Durham, by mostly white teachers. From preschool to high school, my [...]

In 1986, I was a recent seminary graduate and working with Oakland’s interfaith community. I was ear [...]