…Until Obamacare begins.  On October 1, 2013, the individual health insurance exchanges, another regulatory body established under the federal health law, are scheduled to open for enrollment.  The federal government bears the responsibility of setting up individual health insurance exchanges in 34 states that have rejected to create their own state-run exchanges.

Meanwhile, as North Carolina’s budget will be voted out of the legislature this week, Senate leader Phil Berger states in today’s News & Observer that Medicaid devours other sections of the budget – like education.

Senate leader Phil Berger, an Eden Republican, said legislators support public education and respect teachers.  Raises weren’t possible, Berger said, because the legislature had to commit an additional $1.5 billion over two years to pay for Medicaid  

Major spending increases include:

  • Approximately $1 billion to continue funding North Carolina’s Medicaid program at current levels.
  • Roughly $68 million for the transference of 51,000 children from Health Choice to Medicaid who live under 133% of the FPL.  This shift is a mandatory requirement under the federal health law.
  • $164 million appropriated for an estimated 142,000 new Medicaid recipients through the next two years – although North Carolina did not opt for Medicaid expansion, this appropriation represents another requirement under the federal health law.
  • $58 million for Medicaid provider cost settlements and Medicaid contracts.  Under Obamacare, Medicaid providers must be reimbursed at 100% of Medicare levels.