Folwell: Rats in NC House to cost taxpayers an extra $1.3 BILLION

 

The rat-weasel hybrids in the North Carolina House seeking to strip state treasurer Dale Folwell of some of his most important duties and kick the can on fixing  the troubled state health plan down the road a little further have added two more “Republicans” to their ranks:  Bobby Hanig and Ray Warren. 

House Bill 184 blocks Folwell from instituting any reforms or changes of any kind to the state health plan until well after the 2020 elections.  By then, the deep-pocketed and “generous” hospital lobbyists who drafted the bill hope to have found a primary challenger to Folwell and knocked him out of office.

The state employees association stands with Folwell on the move.  It’s pretty clear who must be cutting the bigger checks on Jones Street.

It’s apparent that the conservative Republican occupying the treasurer’s office is not going to take this bit of treachery laying  down:

[…] Members of the North Carolina House of Representatives filed a bill this week to prevent the State Health Plan (Plan) from proceeding with its initiative to save $300 million for the Plan and another $66 million for teachers, state troopers and other state and local public servants.

The state treasurer’s initiative, known as the Clear Pricing Project, was announced in October of last year and passed unanimously by the State Health Plan’s Board of Trustees. Beginning January 1, 2020, the Plan will move away from a commercial-based payment model to a reference-based government pricing model tied to Medicare rates. Health care providers will be reimbursed for their services at Medicare rates plus an average profit of 77%. Reference-based pricing is intended to provide transparency in provider rates by indexing fees to a published schedule. This payment model helps support independent primary care physicians, behavioral science specialists and critical access hospitals by increasing their pay.

H.B. 184 would prohibit the Plan from implementing or utilizing “… any reference-based pricing model to reimburse providers …” through the end of 2021. In fact, the legislation requires the Plan to continue purchasing health care services for its members using the secret high prices in confidential contracts between Blue Cross NC and health care providers.  The legislation would create a joint study committee consisting of 16 members appointed by the legislature and various interest groups. The state treasurer would be a non-voting member. The committee would be required to issue a report by April 1, 2020, but no recommendations could be implemented until 2022 at the earliest.

“This legislation locks in a failed and bankrupt system resulting in less transparency, higher costs, and more control for many who’ve been using the State Health Plan to increase their profits for decades,” said Treasurer Folwell. “It ignores the fact that the Plan is right behind Illinois in per capita debt, owing more than $30 billion. It forces entry level teachers, state troopers and other state employees to continue to have to work one week out of the month just to afford the family premium.”

Prior to 2012, the North Carolina General Assembly administered the Plan. However, in 2011 it was recognized that having additional oversight was necessary to run the Plan more efficiently. Subsequently, legislation was passed moving the Plan to the N.C. Department of State Treasurer. H.B. 184 would largely reverse that legislation, bringing the General Assembly back to a more active role in administering the Plan. Taxpayers currently spend around $3.4 billion to provide health care coverage to more than 727,000 Plan members. If H.B. 184 is passed and signed into law, the legislature will need to spend an additional $1.3 billion in taxpayer funds over the next five years to keep the Plan from going bankrupt.

“As keepers of the public purse, we don’t have millions of dollars to spend on advertising and lobbying,” said Treasurer Folwell. “What we offer is devotion to good government and a promise to the people that we will do everything in our power to attack the problem and make health care more affordable and transparent for public employees.”

The House rat-weasels will get their blood money.   And we’ll pay for their selfishness down the road in the form of higher taxes and fees.  State employees will see higher costs, and face the risk of their health plan going  belly-up.  *What’s not to love?*

9 thoughts on “Folwell: Rats in NC House to cost taxpayers an extra $1.3 BILLION

  1. I support Folwell. I know too much about the lack of management in the medical fraternity.

  2. Dear Republican Representatives in Raleigh,
    As a retired state employee I back our State Treasurer, Dale Folwell, 100%. I WANT transparency. I WANT to know what my insurance company and possibly myself are being billed for right down to a box of Kleenex or toothbrush. I want to know how much procedures cost, etc. I want itemization. Heck, I get that when I take my car in for an oil change. And BTW, hospital billing departments don’t always get things right because believe it or not people aren’t perfect. I want to make sure that what is being billed was actually delivered. Don’t you want to know that too?
    Treasurer Folwell stated in part above, “Health care providers will be reimbursed for their services at Medicare rates plus an average profit of 77%”. Seventy-seven percent AVERAGE PROFIT. I believe that most companies would be ecstatic to make that kind of profit. Most don’t, and most are pleasure driven, not critical in nature like hospitals.
    As the saying goes, “Something doesn’t smell right” up there. Voters expect you to have their backs first, and that includes backing our duly elected Treasurer. What you do or don’t do will effect what we do when you’re up for re-election, asking for our hard earned money and vote. Perhaps some of you should rethink things. After all, we’re the iconic Party of elephants, and “Elephants never forget.”

  3. Since Obamacare was enacted, there has been a massive consolidation of medical services into a small number of entities, which have become at least oligopolies and effectively monopolies in their local areas. This has come about by hospitals buying medical practices of formerly independent doctors, centralizing control of medicine. This is not a positive for medical consumers. What makes this monopoly situation even worse is the lack of transparency. Treasurer Folwell is striking a blow not only for pricing fairness to the State Health Plan but to pricing fairness for other medical consumers as well.

    Monopolies playing Hide the Cheese with information that should be revealed is repugnant, and so are the small minded politicians who back those medical monopolies by their stalling tactics. The Third District Republican Executive Committee has unanimously adopted a resolution backing Treasurer Folwell on this issue, and hopefully all Republican legislators will come home to the position of the GOP grassroots.

  4. Hundreds of us in Republican groups in Moore County applaud, admire, and respect what NC Treasurer Dale Folwell is doing to save NC taxpayers’ money. To block him in fulfilling his duties is despicable and any attempt to primary him will fail.

    Sponsors: Dobson; Howard; Brisson; Adcock (Primary)
    Carney; Davis; Elmore; Fraley; Goodman; Grange; Hanig; Harrison; Hawkins; Humphrey; Insko; Lambeth; Logan; Majeed; McGrady; Morey; Setzer; Stevens; Terry; Warren; Willingham

    Bill Summary: Requires that from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2021, the State Treasurer, the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees (State Health Plan), the Board of Trustees of the State Health Plan, and the Executive Administrator of the State Health Plan continue to use the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Blue Options provider network and to reimburse participating network providers in accordance with 100% of the applicable fee schedule. Also prohibits using any reference-based pricing model to reimburse providers during this same period. Does not apply to any Medicare advantage plans or plans described in GS 135-48.40(e) offered by the State Health Plan.

    1. These people, or at least the nominal Republicans among them, all need primaries. They are prostituting themselves to special interests, against the interests of taxpayers. I notice that Medicaid Murphy has gone into hiding on this one, even though his chief ally on the Obamacare Medicaid expansion is the lead sponsor of the bill.

  5. I have told our GOP House Caucus we need to leave Dale Folwell alone and let him do his job. Of course, most of them don’t listen to me. I can’t give them committee appointments, decide whether their bills get heard, or give them huge campaign donations. I am not entirely alone on this issue. There are others I expect will stand with me against this. But I don’t know that there will be enough. Unless our citizens, who will be paying for these huge increases in costs if Dale is stopped, put the fear of God into enough of their Representatives, the good that Dale Folwell is trying to do will be lost.

    1. You should get paid more, since you’re obviously doing the State Party Chairman’s job in addition to your own duties.

  6. The fact of major medical organizations buying individual and group practices up has been happening during the past several years to the point that Wake Med and its counterpoint in Guilford County have forced individual specialty practitioners out of business due to lack of referrals. Medicine is not an industry where the consumer benefits by economies of scale, just the owners and investors of BigMed and BigPharma.

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