Legislative leaders and Gov. Pat McCrory gave a general outline Friday of how they plan on changing the state’s $13 billion Medicaid program, a program that affects 1.5 million North Carolinians and accounts for one of the state’s biggest expenditures.
House Speaker Thom Tillis, Senate leader Phil Berger and McCrory issued a joint press release Friday morning that says the Republican leaders will use the Senate budget plan to have the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services draw up a waiver proposal to ask the federal government for the Medicaid changes.
The Medicaid program uses a combination of federal and state funds to provide required health care for more than 1.5 million low-income of North Carolina’s disabled citizens, elderly residents and children.
The announcement of how the reform effort will progress came a month and a half after McCrory and his Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos announced they wanted to open North Carolina’s Medicaid program up to potential privatization.
Today’s announcement is the first time the McCrory administration has outlined how the path to reform will take place.
Though still light on details, it says that the Senate budget plan (which will be released to the public Sunday night) will include a provision calling on DHHS officials to draw up a waiver that will then be submitted to the federal Medicaid program for approval. The Senate budget is also expected to include a controversial tax reform proposal that will cut income and business taxes, and create a need for $1 billion in cuts over the next three years.
The Medicaid waiver will be subject to legislative approval as well, before being sent off to the federal government.
“The federal government must allow North Carolina to come up with its own solution,” McCrory said in a written statement. “We have a unique opportunity in North Carolina to ensure patients and taxpayers achieve the common goal of provide the best possible patient care in a system that is financially sustainable.”