NC House to take different path on Medicaid bill

Bill blocks federal health care law

ObamacareRALEIGH — The state Senate gave final approval to a health care bill laden with politics Tuesday, even as Gov. Pat McCrory renewed his objections saying the measure could cost state taxpayers millions of dollars.

With the 32-17 vote, the legislation now goes to the House, where Republican leaders plan to take a slower approach than the Senate, which pushed it through just days after being introduced.

The bill is designed to block the implementation of major parts of the federal health care law in North Carolina, preventing low-income residents from receiving health coverage under Medicaid and prohibiting a state-sponsored online marketplace for insurance policies.

The GOP-dominated Senate used the debate to attack President Barack Obama’s health care law and demonstrated their independence from the governor. McCrory asked the Senate to delay the bill, but lawmakers ignored the request.

House lawmakers plan to take a different tact, taking extra time to address the governor’s concerns, said Speaker Thom Tillis (R-ALEC).

But the Cornelius Republican made it clear that the House, like the Senate, stands opposed to the federal health care law.

“I remain consistent in my opposition to both an expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of a state-based health exchange in North Carolina,” Tillis said in a statement.

McCrory is worried the bill may cost the state money because it would jeopardize a $40 million federal grant that pays for the current Medicaid tracking system. The state received the money after former Gov. Bev Perdue took the first steps toward a joint federal-state health care exchange.

“We are optimistic that we can hopefully work out an agreement with the House to deal with some of our concerns about the cost to the North Carolina taxpayers,” McCrory said Tuesday. “We hope we can work those out before it gets through the legislature because we continue to have those concerns.”

The expansion of Medicaid would provide health care coverage to as many as 648,000 low-income residents, a large portion of which don’t have health insurance. The program currently only covers low-income women, the disabled, the elderly and children. The federal government will fully fund the newly eligible for the first three years and then pay no less than 90 percent going forward.

More than 700,000 North Carolinians are expected to shop for insurance policies through the online health care exchange. If the state doesn’t participate, the federal government will craft a marketplace for the state.

Elsewhere across the country, at least five Republican governors plan to take the money while at least nine GOP chief executives are refusing the expand Medicaid.

Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich (R-ALEC), a fierce opponent of the Affordable Care Act and a strident conservative, is the latest to opt for expansion. In releasing his budget this week, Kasich argued expanding Medicaid would save money because fewer uninsured people would seek care at emergency rooms and drive up health costs – the same argument critics are making against the North Carolina bill.

Sen. Pete Brunstetter, a Winston-Salem Republican, said if Washington changes the terms of the deal, lawmakers will reconsider. But right now, “we don’t trust the federal government” to pay for its share of the expansion. He said the Senate will alleviate McCrory’s concerns through separate legislation.

“We do think we are backing into both the state-based exchange and Medicaid expansion” through current actions, he said. “We don’t want to take the money under false pretenses.”


What I learned from the ALEC 2012 Spring Task Force Summit

editor’s note:  This is a fascinating article, a first person account by a conservative ALEC member from New Hampshire.  As a conservative, he was involved in the meetings, as opposed to the way ALEC has treated Marc Pocan–keep him away from everything.

This is a very significant article for the information and insights into conservative thought and the worldview that it shows.  There are also some previously unseen ALEC Model Legislation found in the links of Mancuse’s article, which will be published separately of this narrative. I thought of excerpting this “diary”, but found it too interesting to cut.

Having grown up in New England and having a number of good friends living in New Hampshire,  I need to yell: 
                                LOOK OUT NEW HAMPSHIRE!!!

What I learned from the ALEC 2012 Spring Task Force Summit: My trip to the ALEC Conference in Charlotte, N.C., Part II

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As a freshman attendant at the American Legislative Exchange Council Spring 2012 summit, I was assigned to the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force, which More →

The Supreme Court’s Decision on Affordable Health Care – In Plain English

Even before the Supreme Court issued its ruling on NFIB v. Sebelius, the challenge to the Affordable Care Act, Fox News and CNN both announced that “Dewey Beats Truman”.  And the rhetoric from the right wing has only become more wrong, more obfuscating, more incredibly uninformed.  Of course part of this is just the GOP applying the Ailes doctrine of “repeat it enough times and people will believe it”.  They can’t win the bout on points, so they are resorting to low blows.

But this, like so many things about the entire right wing strategy as devised by their think tanks depends on one critical factor–an uninformed public.  “The best disinfectant is sunlight” is how Justice Brandeis put it.

With all the misinformation and purposeful disinformation out there, and I’m not a lawyer, how do I get to understand what the Supreme Court ruling means?  Well, first of all it needs to have an impartial writer.  Secondly, the impartial writer needs to be able to take complex constitutional issues and transform them into plain old English.

So I turned to a site that I heard about that only does one thing–report on Supreme Court actions.   It went methodically through the ruling so that even I could understand the subtleties of all of the issues involved.

So if you will click here, when you are confronted by the B.S. of those who don’t know, or those who don’t want you to know, you can take them to school.



Think tank adds 2 to staff

[comment by Bob Sloan]:

ALEC’s Director of Health and Human Services, Christie Herrera has become the VP of Medicaid Reform for the Foundation for Government Accountability, a state-level conservative policy think tank based in Naples, where she will head up Florida’s pursuit of Medicaid “Reform”. Good riddance and Floridians look out…she’s ALEC’s “Obamacare” repeal go to expert, your Medicaid program is fixin’ to come under intense attack.

To read the announcement, please click here