North Carolina Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  Moral Monday protests resume as the General Assembly's short session continues. Protestors visit individual lawmakers today to lobby for Medicaid expansion, unemployment insurance and education reform. Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved a fracking bill and tentatively approved a regulatory overhaul. Both pieces of legislation may face challenges in the House. 

Image of NC General Assembly where lawmakers are considering two controversial bills.
Credit NC General Assembly

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say they still expect a Medicaid shortfall of between $120- and $140-million this year. They spoke before state lawmakers today in a committee meeting at the General Assembly.

They first predicted a shortfall of this size about three weeks ago, and it's less than budget overruns of previous years. Republican Representative Nelson Dollar of Cary says that's good news.

Katie Short (far left in purple), mother Mary next to her.
Jessica Jones

Every month, state lawmakers on the General Assembly’s Health and Human Services Oversight Committee hold meetings to talk about health policy in North Carolina. Legislators sit at the front of the room to discuss their agenda, as staff members, reporters, and lobbyists listen. But in the back of the room, a mother and daughter, Mary and Katie Short, who attend every single meeting keep their eye on things too.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State officials say they expect a funding shortfall for the state’s Medicaid program this fiscal year.

Pam Kilpatrick is with the Office of State Budget and Management. She told state lawmakers what her office’s estimate was at a Health and Human Services oversight meeting this morning:

“The 120 to 140 million dollars would be the sum total of all the moving parts. That will be attributed as the department walks through the specifics,  and their methodologies, and they’re using more than one methodology to come up with this shortfall range.”

NC General Assembly

Members of the General Assembly’s Health and Human Services committee are scheduled to meet today in Raleigh. One of the biggest tasks the committee faces is reforming Medicaid- the program that provides health care for people in poverty.

Earlier this year, state officials seemed to be advocating for a move to managed care. But a new proposal recently put forth by state health officials would build on the state’s current system of treating Medicaid patients.

Doctors at Duke Hospital.
Duke Medecine

The NC Department of Health and Human Services unveiled its plan on Monday to reform the state's Medicaid system. While it had already signaled a shift from Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) months ago, the new plan partially outlines how the state would like to achieve that shift.

Thousands marched to the North Carolina State Capitol building on Saturday.
James Willamor via Flickr

Organizers of Saturday’s moral march on Raleigh plan to use the event’s momentum to mobilize voters, they say. The event follows last year’s weekly Moral Monday rallies that criticized laws passed by North Carolina’s Republican-led government.  The new focus is on the fall elections.

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

Thousands of people are expected to march in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, some coming in buses from other states, to call on North Carolina legislators to reverse laws they’ve signed over the last year including requiring voters to show IDs in polling stations, reducing unemployment benefits and blocking Medicaid expansion.

The state’s Medicaid Reform Advisory Committee is comprised by Sen. Louis Pate, Dr. Richard Gilbert, Dennis Barry, Peggy Terhune and Rep. Nelson Dollar
Jorge Valencia

  The North Carolina health department may create up to seven regional networks across the state to give Medicaid services, instead of allowing companies to compete to provide government insurance statewide, according to a new proposal.

NC General Assembly

State health officials say glitches are being worked out in the new Medicaid claims processing system called NCTracks.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and other health officials testified before lawmakers in a day-long oversight session Tuesday.

Health care providers have complained that they’re not being reimbursed for services rendered to Medicaid patients. Some state lawmakers said they think health officials are getting things back on track.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory has again defended North Carolina's new voting law during a talk at a leading conservative think tank. 

McCrory spoke at an event Monday hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington.  He stood behind the state's new voting rules, which require a photo ID at the polls, pointing out that 32 other states have similar laws.  He also criticized attorney general Roy Cooper for speaking out against the law.

NC Office of the State Auditor


Recent controversy over the handling of the Medicaid system by the state’s Department of Health and Human Service has pointed a spotlight on a seemingly non-controversial office: the state auditor.

State Senator Phil Berger
Dave DeWitt


Controversy continues at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with the Medicaid director resigning after only eight months on the job.

Two Ob/GYN doctors review test results.
Mercy Health

Members of a Raleigh-based community medical organization say a new study shows a transitional care program they launched has cut hospital re-admissions by 20 percent. 

Computer, medical.
Tabitha Kaylee Hawk via flickr, Creative Commons

The state Auditor has found that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services did not fully test a new computer system.

The DHHS system was installed to start processing Medicaid claims beginning in July.   Beth Wood's audit found that the nearly $500 million computer system was not put through all of its paces.  The report raises questions about the software and its ability to handle Medicaid claims paid by the state that exceed $12 billion. 

McCrory gives weekly GOP address

Gov. Pat McCrory gave a national audience a glimpse into reforms he wants to implement in North Carolina.  He delivered this past weekend's GOP response to President Obama's weekly address. 

McCrory criticized what he called Washington's "weak leadership" and urged national lawmakers to give more flexibility and accountability to states.  He says he needs that kind of freedom to implement a different approach to Medicaid reform.

A committee in the state House is considering a measure to extend Medicaid coverage for people who have Alzheimer's and dementia. 

Gov. Pat McCrory
Gurnal Scott

Governor Pat McCrory has announced a plan that could privatize the state's Medicaid program that serves low-income people.

The state will hold a competitive bidding process for three big managed-care providers to deliver medical, mental and dental services to patients. Governor McCrory says the plan will help streamline the delivery of Medicaid services.

North Carolina’s Republican Lawmakers are sticking by conservative principles early in Gov. Pat McCrory’s first term. Last week, he signed legislation cutting unemployment benefits. The move was an attempt to pay back debt owed the federal government earlier.

And this week, legislators voted for and sent along a piece of legislation that would reject a federal option to expand Medicaid.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers have passed a bill that would provide emergency funding to maintain care for group home residents across the state.

Legislators in the Senate voted unanimously to approve House Bill 5 yesterday. It will allow group home residents and patients in special dementia units to remain where they are for now. The bill specifies that a 40 million dollar pot of money that's already being used for adult care home residents can also be used to help group home residents.

North Carolina's new Secretary of Health and Human Services says she's committed to helping residents of group homes find a place to live at the end of the month. About 14 hundred people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities are no longer eligible for Medicaid reimbursements for personal care services.

The outgoing Governor, Bev Perdue, allocated one million dollars from a rental assistance fund to keep remaining group home residents in place until the end of January. But everyone's aware that money will run out, says Secretary Aldona Vos.

About 2,000 people with severe mental illness are facing eviction from group homes at the end of the year. That was the message from group home residents and staff and mental health advocates who rallied at the state Capitol yesterday. A change in Medicaid rules means residential facilities for the mentally disabled will lose some federal funding at the end of the year. State lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year providing replacement funds for adult care homes...but group homes were left out.

NC Delegates Wrap Up Week In Tampa

Aug 31, 2012

North Carolina's delegates to the Republican National Convention are headed home, after their big week in Tampa. Delegate John Steward from Union County joined thousands of fellow party members at Mitt Romney's nomination acceptance speech last night. He says he likes that Romney is not backing away from cutting federal spending.

John Steward says, "I really liked the fact they're not backing off the Medicaid and Medicare - the only way to save it is to reform it and they're not backing off of that."

State officials say they have a plan to close a huge shortfall in North Carolina's Medicaid budget.

Attorney General Roy Cooper

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today what he calls the "first wave" of ramped up efforts to fight Medicaid fraud in the state. Cooper says 18 people in 10 counties have been arrested in the past week. He says the total monetary loss to the Medicaid program from these cases is more than half a million dollars.