Robert L. Rich: House improves Medicaid

June 21, 2014 

I am a rural family physician who has been practicing in Eastern North Carolina for more than 20 years. The state’s Medicaid program has been extremely important to me but even more important to my patients. Yet much of what has been built to improve the care of our state’s most vulnerable residents has come under attack from the state Senate.

The Senate version of the state’s Medicaid budget would cut funding for our elderly and disabled, destabilize our state’s award-winning network of medical homes and ultimately lead to greater use of emergency rooms as our state’s primary care infrastructure is weakened.

Fortunately, the N.C. House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Thom Tillis and Appropriations Chair Nelson Dollar, is taking a more responsible approach to Medicaid reform and Medicaid funding. Their version of the state budget would not cut services for our elderly and disabled and would not move our health care system toward the outdated gatekeeper model of commercial managed care.

Instead, their plan would build on what’s working, repair those things that aren’t and involve the health care community in developing North Carolina solutions for North Carolina issues.

Robert L. Rich, Bladenboro

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