Commentary

Veteran physician skewers McCrory’s Medicaid missteps

Medicaid expansionIn case you missed it this morning (and for some reason Raleigh’s News & Observer doesn’t yet have it posted online) there was a great letter to the editor in the print version of the N&O from veteran Raleigh physician Robert Bilbro entitled “CCNC doesn’t need tweaking.”

We offer it here.

“In the recent gubernatorial debate the governor made two statements in his response regarding expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina that need refuting, in my opinion.

First, he stated that he is trying to persuade federal authorities to allow North Carolina to do the expansion ‘the N.C. way.’ He fails to recognize that that there is a ‘N.C. way’ functioning well with Community Care of NC, a nonprofit program that is recognized around the country as a model that works. It has evolved in North Carolina over nearly two decades. Several states are striving to emulate this program.

The cost of medial care per patient under N.C. Medicaid has incrementally decreased over the last five years [under CCNC]. No other state has had such success.

The governor’s plan is to supplant CCNC with for-profit managed-care organizations that come from out of state. What is the logic in doing that?

Second, he indicated his hesitation to accept federal money for bringing about 400,000 impoverished state residents into the Medicaid program because he is concerned about the state’s capacity to pay its 10 percent share. He is apparently ignoring the huge economic benefit from such a shrinkage of uninsured patients plus the tremendous boost to hospitals and safety net clinics. Economists project 25,000 to 30,000 new jobs across all 100 counties. The tax revenues and savings in caring for uninsured patients would more than pay the 10 percent, not to mention the profound enhancement of the lives of nearly half a million people.

We need our governor to consider pertinent facts and to be rational regarding this matter. It would be of huge value to our state’s economy and its people.

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