Medicaid transformation put on hold; legislators blame one another

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A transformation in our state's medicaid program is being put on hold.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced it is stopping the implementation of the new Medicaid-managed care because they don't have the funding to go forward.

The program would allow people on Medicaid to pick their own policy from a private insurance company instead of relying on the government.

As expected, NC Medicaid managed care won't begin on time

"For people who currently get their insurance from Medicaid that means nothing is changing right now - it means you're still going to get your healthcare from your same doctors, nurses and hospitals that you've gotten them from for the last number of months and years," said Mandy Cohen, secretary for DHHS.

Legislators -- who have left for the year -- blame each other for the program not moving forward.

Through a spokesperson, Governor Cooper said in part: "By choosing gridlock instead of negotiating, they delayed Medicaid transformation and broke their promise to vote on expansion, leaving 500,000 North Carolinians without affordable quality healthcare."

Senator Leader Phil Berger, through spokeswoman Lauren Horsch, said the General Assembly already funded the bill.

"Nevertheless, despite his own DHHS Secretary saying she needed more than $500 million the legislature tried to provide her, Governor Cooper vetoed the funding. He is the only one to blame for DHHS having to shut down its Medicaid transformation efforts."

Secretary Cohen said their planned launch of managed care in February is no longer possible.

"We'll need to wait for the legislature to return to continue to do their work," she said.

She noted that the mini budgets passed during this year's legislative session would have left the department vulnerable and not allowed them to provide the services people need to protect their health. It would've also moved their offices from Raleigh to Granville County.
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