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State Budget Proposal Out, Medicaid Changes Could Be In Store

By Rachel Nash Posted May 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina Senate released its $20.6 billion budget proposal Sunday night. The plan for Medicaid—a topic that’s caused a lot controversy in our state— might see some changes.

Chapel Hill resident Tye Hunter participated in the NAACP protests outside the General Assembly and was arrested May 6 during a rally.

Hunter says he doesn’t agree with legislation coming out of the General Assembly in regards to health care. Hunter cites NC Governor’s Pat McCrory’s decision to reject the expanded federal Medicaid program in March. It’s estimated that about 500,000 low-income people health could have received coverage under the program.

“I just think that’s going in entirely the wrong direction. It seems that these decisions are being made with no consideration of the impact they will have on vulnerable people in North Carolina,” Hunter said.

The Senate’s budget plan for Medicaid adds about $1.2 billion in overall funding, according to a press release issued by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. However, it will reduce covered doctor visits on Medicaid from 22 to 10 per year (except for the chronically ill), raises co-pays for services, and cuts private nursing services by $5 million—among other changes.

Chapel Hill Carrboro NAACP chapter president Minister Robert Campbell has also attended to the protests in Raleigh and says health care is one of his main concerns.

“We’ve got to be equal about this thing. If it’s not going to affect the top—then we can’t pull the rug out from under the bottom,” Campbell said. “We are in a crisis. You can hear outcry of the general population—the people themselves.”

Berger’s news release states that Medicaid is “a runaway federal entitlement program that is diverting funds away from priorities like education, transportation and our judicial system.”

Follow the links to see the senate’s budget bill and associated money report.

Click here to see Gov. Pat McCrory’s proposed budget.

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