House Committee Recommends Medicaid Payment Changes

Jun 20, 2014

Credit Jorge Valencia

A committee in the state House of Representatives is recommending a plan to reform Medicaid insurance for people who are poor or disabled.

The proposal says a majority of Medicaid patients would be treated by providers who receive a fixed amount of money per patient.

The governor’s office shows support for the bill. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos praised it in a committee hearing Thursday.

"We are very pleased with the House bill that it closely aligns with Gov. McCrory's medicaid reform plan," Wos said.

Medicaid serves 1.7 million mostly poor children, older adults and people with disabilities.

Lawmakers for years have struggled with shortfalls. Medicaid is mostly funded by the federal government, but North Carolina taxpayers spend $3 billion to $4 billion on it per year.

Rep. Nelson Dollar is a Republican from Wake County and sponsor of the bill. He spoke to the Committee on Health and Human Services.

"What the General Assembly needs to do is to set up what it is we want, what we want to see out of the system, and empower the department and empower providers to give us the details of the plan and what we'll need to be taking up with the federal government and federal partners," Dollar said.

The bill would limit the amount spent on each patient. Opponents say it could leave thousands without care.