LEGISLATIVE REPORT - February 12, 2019
The 2019 Long Session is continuing its slow start despite a steady stream of newly introduced bills and important health policy developments. On the health front, Medicaid continues to take center stage. Gov. Roy Cooper has been pushing expansion, but some Senate leaders remain opposed to the idea, citing concerns that costs would ultimately be shifted from the federal government to the state. Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, has indicated he plans to reintroduce his "Carolina Cares" bill. “Carolina Cares” would expand Medicaid in exchange for work requirements for some recipients to access benefits.
At the same time, North Carolina’s shift to Medicaid managed care continues to move forward. Just last week, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the five managed care groups that will receive Medicaid contracts. The managed care companies will be paid a per person, monthly rate to cover all of an individuals' needs. Four companies will receive statewide contracts:
- AmeriHealth Caritas North Carolina
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
- UnitedHealthcare of North Carolina
- WellCare of North Carolina
Carolina Complete Health, a provider-led group backed by the NC Medical Society, was added to the mix in Regions 3 and 5, which include counties surrounding Charlotte and in the southeastern corner of the state.
We can expect to hear more on Medicaid expansion and the shift to managed care in the coming weeks and months.
On the education policy front, a bill to bring back master’s degree pay for certain teachers was introduced by Sen. Danny Britt and Sen. Rick Horner. The bill has received a number of additional bipartisan co-sponsors. Masters pay was cut by the General Assembly in 2013.
In other news, the General Assembly has finalized its appointments to the revived State Ethics Commission. Both the House and Senate approved the selection of former Speaker Carl Stewart, recent Sen. Shirley Randleman, ex-Rep. Roger West, and former Shaw University President Clarence Newsome. Governor Cooper will choose the other four commissioners.
This Legislative Report is a publication of Kochanek Law Group and is a member benefit of AANC. Any use or reproduction of this report is limited to AANC and its members.