Not an overly exciting announcement but a start.
The legislature named a new committee to look at "a wide array of health care issues in advance of next spring's legislative session." The goals are what I think are and should be the goals of any progressive on health care:
House Speaker Jim Black, D-Mecklenburg, announced Thursday the creation of the House Select Committee on Health Care, which is charged with making recommendations on how the state can provide health coverage to more people while keeping it affordable and of a high caliber.
The article states that the committee is focused mainly on two problems: 1) the cost of healthcare to the state and 2) the increasing uninsured population:
Like other states, health care is taking up an increasing percentage of the North Carolina state budget. Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the disabled and low-income children and the elderly, is now almost 16 percent of the budget, nearly double the proportion a decade ago.
A North Carolina Progress Board report in September said the percentage of North Carolinians with health insurance has declined since 2000, and that only six other states saw its uninsured population grow faster.
I think that is great that NC is on the front of this issue. My only concern is that this is an area where the ability of states to act is limited; a comprehensive solution must be found on the federal level. That being said, this is a great step towards alleviating some of the most egregious failures of our current system: increasing costs and too many uninsured. This is also a contrast to the Republican government on the national level who has done nothing to curb healthcare costs and has only attempted to shield doctors from liability for malpractice. Lets hope that the committee comes back with recommendations that end up being implemented so that NC can be a shining example on this issue.
FYI: Co-Chairmen of the committee are Representatives. Bob England, D-Rutherford; Edd Nye, D-Bladen; and Thomas Wright, D-New Hanover