Remember when you received this message from Dale Folwell, the state treasurer, at the end of 2018?
Simply put, his letter was rather insulting, at least to me and to some other teachers.
I could not help to think that in a missive meant to outline benefits to a person whom “North Carolina values,” I was also being told that I literally cost too much, was promised too much, and that it was my job to not be as much of a burden on the state.
And that paragraph under the “Did You Know?” heading actually shows a bit of a contradiction in how the state seems to treat the teaching profession: as prices for services and products go up in most every segment of the economy, the willingness to invest in those very things seems to not be the same.
Furthermore, idea that we teachers and government employees must try and cut costs to help the state finance insurance benefits when the state literally is giving massive corporate tax breaks and limiting the very revenues that come to the state to begin with is rather hypocritical.
Bottom line is that Dale Folwell has the power by himself to decide on the State Health Plan’s reimbursement levels to in-network hospitals.
Last October (right before he sent the above letter), he started to move the SHP to a Medicare reimbursement model which would pay less to in-network providers than in the past. He gave hospitals a July 1st deadline to sign on to that agreement.
Only 3 out of the state’s 126 in-network hospitals signed on.
If you follow some of the social media sites that educators frequent, the topic of the State Health Plan is becoming more discussed of late because nobody seems to know what is really going on. What is becoming very apparent is that Folwell has done a rather poor job of communicating what is happening and seems to have taken a stance of “Well, you should know everything that is happening already?”
Truthfully, it seems I have heard more from hospitals I have never been to about what is happening with my health plan than Folwell himself. Did you see this from a Moses Cone employee a few days ago?
It will forever be known as the “Burn in Hell” letter. It says,
As a resident and registered voter in the state of North Carolina, as a former teacher, and as a current employee of a health system, I am writing to you to express my extreme opposition to the changes set in place for the 2020 State Health Plan. Your plan to cut payments to hospitals could possibly be the most moronic idea I have ever seen come out of our state government, and since you Retardicans have taken power, that’s saying a lot. I realize your political party believes that government health care should consist of two plans: “Rich can pay for the services they need and the poor can die in the streets.” But this takes the cake. Members of the State Health Plan are, bar none, the most important people in our communities. They are the teachers, the police, the fire fighters, and our state troopers. They are the drivers of snow plows when roads are impassiblecq, the responders to natural disasters and the regulatory agents who make sure corporate criminals don’t pollute everything they can and abuse every worker they can.
I know a bit about health care finance because it’s been my job for the beter part of 20 years. Hospitals and health care organizations operate on a shoestring margin. Most of the big ones in our state (Novant excepted) are 501(c)(3)’s which means they cover their tax burden by providing care for the poor. As mentioned above, I know your political party just wants those people to die in the streets, but we don’t. In a good year, we make a 2.5 to 3.0% margin. Your insane plan would financially destroy every hospital in this state, but that’s your ultimate goal, isn’t it. Poor people generally don’t vote for your party, so you want them to die. The worst part is you’ve convinced a huge majority of poor voters in rural areas that you support their values and through the brain-washing of Fox News, conservative radio and blatant lies by your politicians you’ve convinced them to vote against their interests.
Burn in hell you sorry (SOBs)
It’s blunt. And the problem is that I feel more informed about what is going on with the State Health Plan from that than I do from Folwell. His communications and explanations of what he is trying to do have been pitiful, and the speed at which he is trying to make these changes happen seems to lack an understanding of how the hundreds of thousands of people who use the SHP will be affected.
This morning in the Winston-Salem Journal, Richard Craver wrote an article that does shed more light on the situation, at least for this teacher. It is very much worth the read.
But let me warn you that there is another very angering angle to this situation explained in this article.
House Bill 184, which would block Folwell’s initiative for at least a year in favor of a legislative study report, cleared the N.C. House by a 75-36 vote April 3. It has yet to be acted upon in the N.C. Senate since being sent to the Rules and Operations Committee April 4. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, has signaled he has no desire to take up HB184.
Berger. The same guy who is refusing to expand Medicare in NC.
This might be the time to bombard the state treasurer’s office with inquiries into what is really happening with the State Health Plan. It also might be the time to contact your representatives about what is happening as well. Forcing them to explain what is occurring might lend a little light on the subject because if you are like me, I am not sure what all is happening.
And I don’t really have a choice but to be on the State Health Plan.