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NC House Medicaid Revamp Plan Sets Stage For Negotiation With Senate

Medicaid illustration: A Caduceus symbol and a dollar sign
Neff Conner

The North Carolina House of Representatives approved a plan Tuesday to allow non-profit groups of hospitals and doctors to manage care for most of the state’s 1.8 million Medicaid health recipients, formally setting the stage for a clash with the Senate over how to revamp the program.

The House plan, which lawmakers have discussed since at least 2011 when Republicans took over a majority in both chambers, would allow state health officials to pay the non-profits a predetermined amount of money for the medical care of each patient and would be phased in by as early as 2020.

The Senate plan, which was approved last week as part of the chamber’s bi-annual state spending proposal, would allow mostly for-profit insurance companies to manage care for each patient and would be go fully into effect by 2017.

“If there were a simple solution to Medicaid transformation, the General Assembly would’ve done it long before now,” Rep. Donny Lambeth, a Republican from Forsyth County, told House members during session.

Disagreement over an overhaul isn’t between parties -- the House approved its plan in an almost unanimous 105 to 6 bipartisan vote -- but between chambers. House and Senate leaders adjourned their session last summer without reaching an agreement on Medicaid. Senate Republican leaders have said this year they plan on sending the governor a plan before adjourning.

Jorge Valencia has been with North Carolina Public Radio since 2012. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Jorge studied journalism at the University of Maryland and reported for four years for the Roanoke Times in Virginia before joining the station. His reporting has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald, and the Baltimore Sun.
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