By Bill Moore

There has been an ongoing battle between our State Treasurer, Dale Folwell, and the Health care system in North Carolina. Folwell has taken a stand to cut costs paid to Hospitals and believes it will not hurt them. Obviously the Hospitals have taken the opposite stance. Let us look at the facts of the matter.

The State Health plan covers healthcare to over 727,000 state employees that include teachers, troopers and other state employees including their dependents. It costs the taxpayers over $3.3 billion annually. The State has an unfunded liability of over $32 billion for retiree healthcare. Although our leadership plans on a 4% annual increase in healthcare costs statistics show it to be between 7 to 9%. Folwell projects the fund to run out of money in 2023 unless something is done to address the issues.

Folwell points out the Hospitals have accepted the Federal Government reimbursement for Medicare. At this point NC hospitals have accepted treatment for Prisoners and Workers comp at Medicare rates plus 40%.

Unless the legislature blocks it, Folwell has put in place a solution starting in 2020. His plan includes:

  • Reimbursing Hospitals at a rate of Medicare plus 77%. Approximately a drop of 14%.
  • Forcing Hospitals to give an itemized bill for the services they provide. Currently they send a total bill and a patient has no idea how the cost was determined.

Hospitals claim they lose money on Medicare and must shift the losses to other patients or plans. They also claim the State Health Plan is not a Government plan despite it is funded by the taxpayers of North Carolina. Further they threaten to order more tests to make up for the loss of revenue from this new plan should it be initiated.

The Institute of Medicine is a nonprofit organization established in 1970 as a component of the US National Academy of Sciences that works outside the framework of government to provide evidence-based research and recommendations for public health and science policy. It estimates that 30% of all medical billing in the US is wasted. Instead of trying to be more efficient Hospital choose to pass on costs to other plans by charging more for the same services.

How often have you been in a hospital and wondered why there appears to be endless tests, sometimes in your opinion unwarranted? No one is saying to cut back on care or treatments. However if there is 30% waste in you operation, you could readily absorb the 14% Folwell proposes and still be ahead. As a matter of fact, by cutting back on needless waste you could earn additional funding or profits which could be put back into the hospital for purchasing new equipment or increasing staffing as needed.

Folwell is right and needs our support. We need to contact our Legislators and urge them to not fall into the Hospital Special interest Lobbying and do what is right for the People of North Carolina. Support the Folwell program.