Regarding the May 10 Ned Barnett column “The myth of the Medicaid monster”: Our state’s Medicaid program is respected nationally for its effectiveness and, as your column pointed out, spending has been flat since 2010, not out of control as past accounting practices made it appear.
Gov. Pat McCrory and former Budget Director Art Pope deserve much credit for ending accounting practices put in place over multiple administrations that made it difficult for policymakers to clearly see Medicaid cost trends and budget requirements.
The budget and costs are now aligned, and last year through more accountable management, DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos reported a budget surplus for the first time in years. That’s no small task and a major step toward fixing Medicaid.
Also note that the level Medicaid cost trend is a product of prudent policy decisions and rate adjustments passed by the legislature and implemented by state agencies.
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“Holding the line” on taxpayer expense is a collaborative task, and NCCCN has long been a supportive partner in that effort. While there are many things about the Medicaid program that can be improved, it seems prudent to build on the strong primary care infrastructure that serves our state well. Managing other parts of the program equally well should be our goal, as should increasing accountability through payment and benefit reforms.
Chair, Board of Directors, North Carolina Community Care Networks, Inc.; CEO, Piedmont Health