Under the Dome

Medicaid agreement close, not final, says key Senator

After reports of progress in Medicaid negotiations last week, a key legislator said Tuesday that the details are not yet final.

“The discussions are around the edges,” said Sen. Ralph Hise, a Spruce Pine Republican and key negotiator on Medicaid.

The House and Senate have reportedly agreed on changes to Medicaid that would allow commercial insurers to sign up Medicaid patients as part of managed care operations, and for in-state “provider-led entities” - doctors and hospitals - to do the same.

The plan includes changing the way the state pays for health care for poor, elderly and disabled people using the government insurance. The state would move from paying for each medical visit and procedure to a system where it pays a set amount for each patient.

The House and Senate came to an impasse over Medicaid changes last year. It may be different this year.

“I have never felt more confident that before this is over that we will pass a Medicaid reform bill,” Hise said.