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Wed December 4, 2013
Governor McCrory Says NC Teachers Will Receive Pay Increase; Medicaid Expansion Still Uncertain
Earlier this year, North Carolina lawmakers deleted a provision in the state budget that provided salary supplements to public school teachers with advanced degrees. The move struck a nerve with many teachers across the state. But Gov. Pat McCrory says he wants to roll out a teacher pay raise proposal by early 2014.
“I would like to reinstate some form of master’s degree pay, but it has to be directed towards what the goal of the teacher is and what they are actually doing in the classroom,” says McCrory.
Gov. McCrory says he is seeking input and ideas from his top education adviser, teachers and other groups.
“We are going to be looking at masters pay and pay raises and will the pay raises be based on performance or market conditions for individual studies. For example, math and science teachers get more than a P.E. teacher based upon the market conditions and will it be based upon tenure,” says McCrory.
Another contentious issue facing the Tar Heel state is Medicaid Expansion. It is one 26 states where lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion.
“It’s crucial and we are getting input from doctors, medical practices and hospitals but it is not going to be easy because there are so many different interest groups that have equity in Medicaid. We are going to be looking for waivers, so we can to try out different Medicaid reform or trials throughout the state,” says McCrory.
Healthcare experts estimate an additional 500,000 North Carolinians would be covered by the expansion.
If McCrory would have expanded Medicaid coverage, North Carolina would have received full federal funding through 2016 to pay for the increased enrollment.
But according to McCrory, the state’s current system is broken. He says right now, the program is more than $500-million under budgeted and the current model is not sustainable.
“I think come February, we are going to get better numbers on how the Medicaid roles are being impacted by the implementation of Obamacare and that will be a major signal to us. People will come out of the woodwork to sign up for Medicaid that are qualified for the program. We don't know how many of those people will sign up and if we have enough money budgeted for those people and that is what we need to know before we expand the program,” says McCrory.
McCrory is urging lawmakers to take a closer look at the math before expanding Medicaid coverage.