by Brenée Goforth
Media Manager & Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
JLF’s health care researcher Jordan Roberts is recapping the health care legislation that passed (and didn’t pass) in North Carolina’s last legislative session.
Medicaid expansion was a question of whether to expand our state’s Medicaid program to include able-bodied, working-age adults in the program traditionally for low-income mothers and seniors, children, the blind, and the disabled. Wisely so, lawmakers rejected this massive expansion of public health insurance
Although Medicaid transformation was supposed to go into effect, it did not. Roberts explains:
Transformation describes the transition of North Carolina’s Medicaid program from a fee-for-service model to a managed care model… Under a managed care model, managed care companies would compete for enrollees, and be paid a per-member, per-month rate to care for all covered lives in their plan…
Following Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget, this date was moved back to February 2020 because of a lack of funding. Cooper then vetoed a separate stand-alone funding bill, indefinitely delaying the rollout of Medicaid transformation. It remains unknown when transformation will finally be completed.
Association Health Plans
The governor, however, did not manage to stop association health plans:
AHPs allow groups of individuals or small businesses to band together to purchase a large group insurance plan through a business or trade association… Despite bipartisan support of the bill, Cooper refused to sign it, and after 10 days of sitting on his desk, the bill became law.
Rural Health Care Stabilization
This provision would allow rural hospitals in a financial crisis to apply for a loan from the state government. The law details the protocol for application and repayments of the loan.
What Didn’t Pass:
If we want to provide high-quality and low-cost health care to North Carolinians, there is still a long way to go. Roberts writes:
Several bills were introduced to deal with important health care policy issues, only to die in committee or on the floor. Among those were bills to amend the state’s certificate of need laws and to reorganize how nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses are regulated [(Scope of Practice)]. Further, there are areas ripe for reform, such as telehealth and dental therapy, which should be addressed next session.