The last few weeks have certainly seen more discussions, questions, complaints, and arguments surrounding what is happening with the State Health Plan and State Treasurer Dale Folwell has been trying to do as far as getting hospitals to agree to a new reimbursement scheme.
Currently the state plan through Blue Cross / Blue Shield covers approximately 700,000 people in a state that has around 10 million people in it. That’s a huge percentage of people under the same health plan.
Only a handful of hospitals (under 5) have signed on. Many bigger hospitals have been very outspoken about not willing to sign on to Folwell’s plan.
Communication about what is really going on has not been very good, but a couple of resources might be beneficial.
First, the Public School Forum of NC dedicated its recent episode of Education Matters to this topic. Folwell was interviewed by Keith Poston as well as two teachers (separately). You can view that episode here.
Watch it. And be reminded that Poston is a very good interviewer. In fact, Education Matters is a vital resource for all people in the state concerned with public education, and the Public School Forum is a place I go to for research into and journalism concerning public schools.
Then yesterday, my local NPR station, WFDD, aired a segment that was sent through all NPR affiliates called Fact Check. This particular episode dealt with the claims by Folwell about the state plan.
A transcript of what was included on air can be found here.
Here is part of what it reported:
WHAT IT MEANS FOR HOSPITALS
Many state hospitals are not happy with the project since the fixed rates set by Folwell do not provide enough money for them to pay extra expenses, such as 24/7 emergency rooms and people who cannot afford to pay for their hospital visits.
“What you’re effectively asking hospitals to do is sign a contract with them performing the same services for the same number of people for less,” Aaron McKethan, a professor of population health sciences at the Duke University School of Medicine and the former chief data and analytics officer for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Signing this contract could also put hospitals on a “slippery slope,” McKethan said. Once hospitals have compromised for one state-set rate, they fear that could give the state the power to change the rates whenever it wants. For this reason, many hospitals and doctors across the state have refused to agree to join the State Health Plan’s new network.
Please read the whole piece.
Then ask yourself what would happen to those smaller rural hospitals that are being compromised because there has not been Medicaid expansion if this plan went into effect?
And why does it seem that teachers have been the pawns in this discussion?