RALEIGH: Senate to debate Medicaid reform Tuesday - WNCN: News, Weather

NC Senate to debate Medicaid reform Tuesday

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

North Carolina lawmakers plan to discuss Medicaid reform when the Senate convenes Tuesday.

The House and Gov. Pat McCrory want Medicaid to be handled by groups comprised of doctors and other health care providers known as Accountable Care Organizations. The House also keeps the state Medicaid office within the Department of Health and Human Services.

"Accountable Care Organizations are composed of people that are citizens of the state of North Carolina who are providing the healthcare, working together to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens," explained Robert Seligson, with the North Carolina Medical Society.

The Senate, on the other hand, wants to shift Medicaid to a managed-care model in which hospital and doctor networks and private insurance companies receive only a fixed amount for each patient.

The Senate also wants to create a new state department led by a seven-member board that would oversee Medicaid.

The Senate believes its plan will create more predictability with Medicaid.

"Short term, we need to control the budget," said Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) “Long term, we need to find a way to put a sustainable system in place that will allow us to identify what our real costs are and be able to budget accordingly, and provide what would be Medicaid services."

Seligson, however, described the Senate plan as a less personal approach.

"Managed-care entities are corporate owned. They're Wall Street driven and they're nationally driven as to how their policies are made and so forth," Seligson said.

The Senate plan also ramps-up the new model in mid-2016, well before the House's goal of paying for a majority of Medicaid recipients by the new method in mid-2020.

Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

Beau Minnick

Beau covers the North Carolina legislature, delivering valuable insights into state politics. More>>

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