by Brenée Goforth
Communications Associate, John Locke Foundation
Earlier this week, The Raleigh News and Observer published a story on the House Medicaid compromise bill. House Bill 655, or “NC Health Care for Working Families,” is a proposed compromise to Gov. Cooper’s demands for Medicaid expansion; demands which he is using to hold up the state budget. According to the story:
The work requirement is a key difference between this and Cooper’s Medicaid expansion. Participants’ costs would be 2% of their household income, billed monthly. It would cover those residents who meet all federal Medicaid citizenship and immigration requirements and are not eligible for Medicaid under the current program.
Other requirements include: Their modified adjusted gross income is not higher than 133% of the federal poverty level; they are not entitled to or enrolled in Medicare Part A or B; and they are between the ages of 19 and 64.
The House Health Committee voted 25-6 in favor of the bill. Later Tuesday, it was fast-tracked to the agenda for the full House.
The bill would also create a special fund for rural hospitals to receive grants from the Department of Health and Human Services.
The story references Senior Vice President of the John Locke Foundation, Becki Gray:
[Gray] said lawmakers are looking at the wrong problem. She said they need to look at lowering the cost of health care so people can afford the health insurance they want to buy.
Rather than focus on increasing the government’s presence in the insurance market, Gray suggests a path forward for expanding access to care and bringing down the cost. She suggests many ways to accomplish this goal, including:
- Repeal Certificate-of-Need laws.
- Expand the scope of practice for providers, allowing them to offer services they’ve been trained to provide.
- Introduce dental therapy as a way to extend dental care cost effectively.
- Allow and expand small business health plans to offer more flexibility and customization of health insurance plans.
- Adopt a rule, as is being considered by the Trump administration, to require doctors and hospitals to disclose the rates they negotiate with insurance companies.