Heath care access has been central to conversations about North Carolina politics. In addition to the surprise passing of the state budget, bills like S86, which aims to provide coverage for small businesses, trade associations, and other groups of professionals who are in the same industry or line of work through what’s called an “association health plan,”leaving health care coverage for many North Carolinians in limbo. Current counter-proposal legislation from the NC GOP adds work requirements. Additionally, new prerequisites to Medicaid access in the state budget could leave residents seeking care without essential benefits and North Carolinians with pre-existing conditions without equal access. Bills and proposals like these could undermine the DHHS’ ability to “protect people’s health and safety.” Access is already a struggle for people with pre-existing conditions, many of whom already suffer from a lack of safety and health care access.Read More
Rep. Cecil Brockman’s district received more than $2.7M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 budget but could have benefitted from $683M in increased economic activity and $7.7M in increased tax revenue by 2022 with Medicaid expansion. 35,194 more people in Guilford county could have health care by 2022 if Medicaid were expanded.
Rep. Howard Hunter voted for a Republican budget that contained $100K in one-time grant money for his district. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion would bring in $30M in increased economic activity and $304K in tax revenue by 2022.
Rep. Elmer Floyd’s district received nearly $1.4M in nonrecurring funds in the 2019 Republican budget, but Medicaid expansion would bring $141M more in economic activity to his district. 18,451 people in Cumberland county could have health care by 2022 under Medicaid expansion.
Read part one of the full report here.Read More
Real Facts NC filed requests with the NC Department of Insurance and the Lieutenant Governor’s office Thursday seeking records of contact with Greg Lindberg and other indicted individuals, and public figures with known relationships to Lindberg and his network in the bribery scandal rocking the NCGOP.
The group is specifically seeking all correspondence between both departments and Robin Hayes, Greg Lindberg, John Gray, and John Palermo, the four men indicted on bribery charges, as well as correspondence between both departments and Rep. Mark Walker, mentioned in the indictment as “Public Official A.” Real Facts is also seeking correspondence between the departments and former Sen. Wes Meredith (R-Cumberland) who took nearly $40,000 from Lindberg and immediately filed a bill backed by Lindberg’s Eli Global.Read More
Senate Bill 86 creates opportunities for small businesses to provide health care for employees using Association Health Plans (AHPs) authorized under federal guidelines. The Trump administration rolled out AHPs in June 2018, claiming they would result in lower prices and more choices for employers and employees. S86 would require coverage for people with preexisting conditions and allow parents to keep children on up to age 26.
AHPs don’t have as many consumer protections as other health plans. Due to this, economists and experts say AHPs are risky and likened them to “running with scissors.”AHPs do not have to cover the ten “essential health benefits” required under the ACA and could exclude coverage for prescription drugs, for example, and smaller employers could skip maternity coverage requirements. Protections written into AHPs for people with preexisting conditions would be weakened by plans that make chronic care patients jump through more hoops or pay high deductibles.AHPs cannot discriminate against sick individuals, but do not offer complete protections for people with preexisting conditions who could face “roadblocks in finding affordable, comprehensive coverage.”
Read more analysis of S86 here.Read More
As expanding access to health care becomes one of the leading priorities of the 2019 legislative session, gender identity, a less discussed determinant of access, deserves attention. Trans people are fighting to receive quality health care in North Carolina.
Trans people have been targeted by legislation in North Carolina in the past. One powerful instance was HB2, known as the “bathroom bill,” which restricted public bathroom use for people who were not cis men or women. Another part of this bill that was vastly overlooked made it clear that employees are able to discriminate against a person based on gender identity.
At the close of 2016, newly elected Republican treasurer Dale Folwell announced a goal to “reduce the state health plan’s 32 billion dollar debt, provide a more affordable family premium especially for our lowest paid employees and provide transparency to the taxpayers.” In 2017 Folwell announced the state health plan would no longer cover gender-affirming care for trans state employees as part of his cost-saving effort. This cut continues to undermine the well-being of trans people in North Carolina and advances a path to sanction the denial of rights of key constituents. At 2018’s open, hormone therapy- a method of gender affirmation and one utilized treatment for gender dysphoria- was cut from the state health plan. In 2019, this health plan will come under scrutiny by the legislature as they create NC’s overall budget- and it is in need of some serious changes.Read More
Brenden Jones is a used car salesman whose business has faced multiple lawsuits for selling “lemons” to women. However, House Speaker Tim Moore bought his son’s first car, a Mustang, from Jones. Jones makes it clear which customers he values. Jones claimed to priorit…Read More
During a House disaster relief committee meeting on Monday, legislators discussed how to help North Carolinians who suffered tremendous losses from Hurricane Matthew and how to prevent disasters in the future. During this discussion, Rep. Jimmy Dixon (R-4) claimed victims in North Carolina are relying on the government too much.
“The number one problem is I think we’ve lured ourselves into complacency and we’ve allowed the public to think that any time a disaster occurs, it’s the government’s responsibility to get us out of the disaster.”
Click here for more background on how N.C. Republicans have failed to address the needs of North Carolinians who live with mental illness and addiction. Republicans in the North Carolina legislature have failed to understand the connection between faltering mental health services in the sta…Read More
In June 2018 Senate Republicans surprised the public with new portions of a school safety bill that would alter insurance laws.
The changes would allow membership groups and nonprofits to offer health insurance plans that were exempt from state oversight and from ACA regulations.
The changed law would have allowed these plans to exclude or charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions.
According to NC Health News, the plans offered in NC would be similar to some offered in Tennessee where ACA premiums have “climbed precipitously” due to these unregulated plans.
Senate Republicans voted in favor of allowing health insurance plans that cherry-pick healthy enrollees and leave sicker people in the market, causing everyone’s premiums to skyrocket.
Though the House rejected this change, days later the House Republicans again blocked Medicaid expansion that would keep health care out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.Read More
Republican lawmakers made politically-motivated decisions that put healthcare out of reach for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
North Carolina is one of the most expensive states for healthcare; around half a million North Carolinians do not have access to health insurance because Republican lawmakers decided to play politics with people’s lives.
Republicans refused to expand Medicaid coverage. This politically motivated decision priced out many people in North Carolina’s insurance market who could have been covered under Medicaid but now have to purchase insurance that many cannot afford.
Republican lawmakers voted against Medicaid expansion that would have covered over 500,000 low-income North Carolinians and would have been funded by federal money for three years.
Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid continues to hurt our rural communities and drive the wedge between urban areas and rural areas even deeper. Four rural hospitals have closed in North Carolina since Republicans took over the General Assembly in 2010. Republicans’ refusal to expand Medicaid hurts real people across rural North Carolina.
Republicans show over and over that the only thing they care about is facing voters in November. Instead of playing election year politics, we should take real steps to improve access and care for people across North Carolina by expanding Medicaid.Read More