Carolina Journal‘s Dan Way reports on the latest from State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s proposed State Health Plan changes:

The House Health Committee overwhelmingly approved a bill blocking State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s controversial State Health Plan reforms while moving up a deadline to study alternatives.

House Bill 184 prevents Folwell from imposing his Clear Pricing Project in 2020 to cut costs and increase billing transparency. He says those steps are crucial to save the financially ailing system before 2023, when it’s projected to run out of money. The committee added an amendment keeping in place a study committee to recommend alternatives to the treasurer’s plan. The amendment moves up the deadlines for a final report from April 1, 2020, to Dec. 15, 2019, and to implement final recommendations from Dec. 31, 2021, to Dec. 31 of next year.

The bill passed Tuesday on a 26-2 vote. Its next stop is the House Insurance Committee.

The N.C. Healthcare Association, representing hospitals and health systems, and Folwell have clashed bitterly on the issue.

Rep. Cynthia Ball, D-Wake, offered the amendment moving up the study committee’s deadlines. She said reform is urgently needed, but the health-care system couldn’t handle rushing Folwell’s plan into place while statewide Medicaid transformation and other changes are happening.

Folwell thinks a study bill is little more than an attempt to crush his reforms. Delay will add $1 billion to the State Health Plan’s near-term unfunded liabilities, according to actuarial analyses.

“I didn’t lose anything today. The taxpayers lost because every dollar that’s unnecessarily spent on health care is a dollar that cannot be spent on public safety, public education, or public roads,” Folwell told Carolina Journal after the meeting. He said H.B. 184 would decrease transparency, increase costs, and allow providers to dictate the state’s cost structure.

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