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North Carolina’s state government handed the Obama Administration a left and a right punch today over the issue of Obamacare implementation.
Early Tuesday, Gov. Pat McCrory (R) announced that the state would not implement the health insurance exchanges as outlined in the Affordable Care Act. McCrory also got behind legislation that passed today opting North Carolina out of Medicaid expansion mandated by President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
“Throughout our first few weeks in office, we have done a thorough review of the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Medicaid in North Carolina and determining the right exchange option for our state. Headed up by our Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, this review included discussions with other governors, the White House, health care providers and N.C. legislative leaders.
“This assessment included our existing systems, operations, potential new administrative costs and barriers, and the amount of control and flexibility North Carolina will have to reform the system. The results of our findings make it abundantly clear that North Carolina is not ready to expand the Medicaid system and that we should utilize a federal exchange.
Our findings include:
1) In light of recent Medicaid audits, the current system in North Carolina is broken and not ready to expand without great risk to the taxpayers and to the delivery of existing services to those in need. We must first fix and reform the current system.
2) The potential long-term cost to the North Carolina taxpayer and needed flexibility for reform cannot be determined based upon the information and details provided to us by the federal government.
3) There has been a lack of preparation within state government during the past year to build necessary and reliable systems to
implement a state exchange.
4) Due to the ongoing political uncertainty of the federal budget deficit, there is long-term concern regarding the federal government’s continuing of its obligation for matching funds under the terms of the Medicaid expansion.
“We are currently working with the General Assembly on technical language revisions to Senate Bill 4 to ensure full and timely funding for NC FAST. This information technology system must be implemented for existing Medicaid services. In addition, this technology also will help reduce fraud and waste.
“If it becomes clear that the current course of action is not in the best interest of North Carolina, our health care system and our citizens, we will work with the General Assembly to pursue other options in the future.”
North Carolina becomes the 26th state to refuse to implement a state insurance exchange and instead put that ACA provision responsibility back onto the Federal Government.
Following the Governor’s announcement, the NC General Assembly handed Obamacare another punch, echoing Gov. McCrory’s earlier comments regarding Medicaid expansion.
North Carolina lawmakers refused Tuesday to expand Medicaid for an estimated 500,000 poor residents for three years while the federal government fully pays their medical care bills, with opponents saying it was unlikely the state could drop the new additions once it begins shouldering 10 percent of the cost in 2017.
With North Carolina’s moves today, the financial strain to the Federal government to fully implement Obamacare increases dramatically.
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