The state Senate pushed its most recent proposal in committee today to move North Carolina’s complicated and massive Medicaid program to a new structure outside of the state’s health agency.
The Senate’s Medicaid plan would also open up the state’s $13 billion health care program for poor children, the disabled and elderly to privatization by managed care companies, by phasing out the current fee-for-service payment system in preference of paying for a set price-per-patient (called capitation).
Today’s Senate proposal (introduced Wednesday as a committee substitute for House Bill 1181) comes closer to what House members have wanted, but still has some significant differences.
Provider and doctors’ groups voiced criticism of the Senate proposal (click here to view a summary), saying that opening up the $13 billion government health care program to privatization could lead to out-of-state companies siphoning off profits at the expense of patient care.
“The Senate’s new proposal to upend North Carolina’s Medicaid program would harm our state’s most vulnerable patients,” said Robert Seligson, the director of N.C. Medical Society, in a statement released Wednesday. “The Senate preference for corporate managed care disregards the hard, productive work over the past year to craft a consensus Medicaid reform plan that provides more financial certainty for the state without compromising patient care.”
The new Senate proposal would shift the Medicaid program out from under the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to a new Department of Medical Benefits headed by seven board members appointed by the governor and legislature.