by Sam Hieb
N&R columnist Doug Clark’s column on some recent Medicaid numbers:
A report released today by the White House Council on Economic Advisers should be welcomed by opponents of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina for one reason:
It discredits the number 500,000. So let’s get rid of it.
Proponents of Medicaid expansion have used that number to quantify how many North Carolinians would gain health-care coverage through expansion, which Gov. Pat McCrory and the Republican legislature denied last year.
The number seemed to have been produced from thin air.
As you can probably imagine, Clark believes whether the number of potential benficiaries is 500,000 or 377,000, Medicaid should still be expanded in North Carolina.
But the bigger issue here is apparently nobody knows the Medicaid numbers —including DHHS–and that’s why the General Assembly still hasn’t passed a budget:
Berger remains steadfast that no final deal can happen without budget certainty on Medicaid. Senate leaders do not want to be blindsided if Medicaid spending outpaces current projections by tens of millions of dollars, as it has in recent years.
“If it takes us a while to do that, then we’re prepared to take the time that’s necessary,” Berger said. But, he noted, both sides “may be closer to trying to figure out the number” on Medicaid.
“[House leaders] at this point are not willing to go with our number. We are not willing to go with their number. And the question is, is there a number in between … that we can settle on,” Berger said.
Not even the hosiptals know their Medicaid numbers. So the question is whether it makes sense to expand Medicaid until there’s more certainty. I would argue no —and so should Thom Tillis during the upcoming Senate campaign. Hopeful he’ll support his argument as well as explaining why it hasn’t been fixed