Today we reprint Representative Moffitt’s answers to the Western Carolina Medical Society’s 2014 candidate questionnaire (and we’ve added some helpful links for your further information). The Western Carolina Medical Society (WCMS) is our local physicians’ voice advocating for the health of the medical profession, the health of the patient, and the health of the community. Learn more about WCMS on their website.
1. Medicaid Reform: What are your recommendations for reforming Medicaid in North Carolina? Specifically, do you support private Managed Care Companies, physician-led Accountable Care Organizations or another solution, and why?
Medicaid currently costs North Carolina’s taxpayers over $13 billion a year; Medicaid spending has grown 90 percent over the last decade and more than 250% since 1990. It’s the fastest-growing part of our state budget — due in part to fraud, waste, and administrative bloat. We have a lot of work to do in those areas.
A January 2013 performance audit of our Medicaid system by State Auditor Beth Wood revealed more than $1.4 billion in mismanagement and overspending by the program — she called it a “rat’s nest.” And last year, we had to plug a half a billion dollar hole in the state budget that was specifically caused by additional unexpected Medicaid cost overruns. This prevented allocation of these dollars to other important programs.
We’re seeing fewer and fewer doctors accepting Medicaid because of the low reimbursement rates. So you have all these new patients forced into the system but you don’t have the doctors to see them, which results in longer and longer wait times and in many cases an unacceptable standard of care. Studies have looked at what happened when states expanded their Medicaid systems — some not only ended up with worse healthcare outcomes, but in some cases, emergency room visits practically doubled. That’s not good for anyone. Coverage is not the same thing as care.