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Tue February 12, 2013
Governor Says NC Not Ready for Health Exchanges
Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement this morning, in which he said that, after reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Medicaid, he does not think North Carolina is ready to operate the health exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
Here is the full text of Governor McCrory's statement:
"Throughout our first few weeks in office, we have done a thorough review of the advantages and disadvantages of expanding Medicaid in North Carolina and determining the right exchange option for our state. Headed up by our Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, this review included discussions with other governors, the White House, health care providers and N.C. legislative leaders.
"This assessment included our existing systems, operations, potential new administrative costs and barriers, and the amount of control and flexibility North Carolina will have to reform the system. The results of our findings make it abundantly clear that North Carolina is not ready to expand the Medicaid system and that we should utilize a federal exchange. Our findings include:
1) In light of recent Medicaid audits, the current system in North Carolina is broken and not ready to expand without great risk to the taxpayers and to the delivery of existing services to those in need. We must first fix and reform the current system.
2) The potential long-term cost to the North Carolina taxpayer and needed flexibility for reform cannot be determined based upon the information and details provided to us by the federal government.
3) There has been a lack of preparation within state government during the past year to build necessary and reliable systems to implement a state exchange.
4) Due to the ongoing political uncertainty of the federal budget deficit, there is long-term concern regarding the federal government's continuing of its obligation for matching funds under the terms of the Medicaid expansion.
"We are currently working with the General Assembly on technical language revisions to Senate Bill 4 to ensure full and timely funding for NC FAST. This information technology system must be implemented for existing Medicaid services. In addition, this technology also will help reduce fraud and waste.
"If it becomes clear that the current course of action is not in the best interest of North Carolina, our health care system and our citizens, we will work with the General Assembly to pursue other options in the future."
The state is required to inform federal officials by Friday whether or not it will run the health exchanges.