Letter: McCrory plan for Medicaid bad

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 01:54 PM

To the editor:

If you are a Medicaid patient in North Carolina today, you have a helping hand with your health care right in your community.

But if Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan to “reform” Medicaid goes forward, this will no longer be the case. He proposes dealing the program to the lowest bidders, likely to be out-of-state conglomerates dedicated more to making profits for shareholders than providing quality care to our friends and neighbors who need it most.

Community Care of North Carolina is a nationally award-winning program that helps physicians manage Medicaid patients by doing things like providing personal help with medications, monitoring their treatments for such conditions as diabetes, heart failure and asthma, and working to keep them out of expensive emergency rooms and hospitals.

One study estimated CCNC has saved the state nearly $1 billion from 2007 to 2010.

I would agree that Medicaid can and should be improved. But the way to do it is not to turn care for 1.5 million North Carolinians over to out-of-state, profit-driven managed care companies. We’ve tried that before and it simply did not work.

What has worked is empowering local health-care professionals to coordinate care in their own communities through patient-centered medical homes. This is the foundation of CCNC.

Ironically, on the same day the governor announced his plan to gut CCNC, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., helped present another national award to CCNC, this one from the Healthcare Leadership Council.

North Carolina’s family physicians respectfully ask Gov. McCrory to reconsider his proposal and instead join us in building on the success of our existing physician and hospital networks. We can preserve jobs and maximize health-care dollars in our state while improving care for thousands of families.

Gov. McCrory’s heart may be in the right place, but his head is moving us in the wrong direction.

William A. Dennis, MD