NC Health Care Recommendations: Access

On April 11, 2006, the North Carolina House Select Committee on Health Care released recommendations for the 2006 legislative short session. Many of them will be controversial, and taken together they have the potential to significantly change the way that North Carolinians access health care and insurance (and how much we pay). Some of these topics are pretty technical, but no less important for their difficulty. I'm hoping that these posts will begin a conversation on the best course for North Carolina's efforts at healthcare reform.

I'll publish the recommendations of the six subcommittees in six posts, along with some of the background information from each report. The subcommittees are:

1. Strengthen the Safety Net

The Subcommittee on Access recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to appropriate fifteen million dollars ($15,0000,000) to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research, Demonstrations, and Rural Health Development for a grant program to assist federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, free clinics, public health departments, and other non-profit organizations that provide primary or preventive medical services to uninsured or medically indigent patients.

The recommendation comes complete with draft legislation, which would only allow the funds to be used to:

  • "Increase access to preventative and primary care services by uninsured or medically indigent patients in existing or new health center locations;
  • "Establish community health center services in counties where no such services exist;
  • "Create new services or augment existing services provided to uninsured or medically indigent patients, including primary care and preventative medical services, dental services, pharmacy, and behavioral health; and
  • "Increase capacity necessary to serve the uninsured by enhancing or replacing facilities, equipment, or technologies."

2. Create a High-Risk Pool

The Subcommittee on Access recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to enact legislation to implement a health insurance high-risk pool.

The idea of a high-risk pool also came out of the Subcommittee on the Cost of Health Care and Health Insurance for Employees and Employers (see recommendation #2 in this post).

3. Universal Health Care

I'm going to quote this entire section of the Subcommittee report because it could be a valuable reference in the coming debate:

   During the March 28,2006 Subcommittee meeting, with information based on comments and presentations from previous meeting, Co-chair Verla Insko shared the following resolution:


   Nations that assure health care for all spend significantly less per capita and as a percentage of GDP on healthcare than the U.S., and

   In many of these nations a basic healthcare plan for all residents effectively coexists with supplemental private sector plans, and

   These same nations have health care systems that achieve better healthcare outcomes than those achieved in the U.S., and

   The healthcare outcomes in North Carolina are considered at or below average when compared to other states in the nation, and

   Investing in a healthcare model that covers all North Carolinians and includes early intervention and personal responsibility will reduce state health expenditures while improving healthcare outcomes and will make North Carolina's business climate more appealing while making North Carolina Businesses more competitive in the global market, and,

   Our current system leads hospitals to spend millions of dollars on emergency department improvements that lead to higher hospital admissions while proven, more cost effective, early intervention models struggle for funding, and

   The large and growing numbers of the uninsured arc left out of the medical expense bargaining process,

   Our current healthcare system requires the uninsured to pay at higher rates than the insured, and

   North Carolinians overwhelmingly believe the General Assembly should assure all North Carolinians have access to health care, and

   We have a unique opportunity where creating a just health care system will provide significant economic advantages to the State, it's residents and to North Carolina businesses.

   The Subcommittee on adopted the resolution and made the following recommendation during the March 28,2006.

The Subcommittee on Access recommends that the House Select Committee on Health Care encourage the General Assembly to establish a formal plan for transitioning from our current fragmented system of delivering health care to a system that covers all North Carolinians.


Anybody know how a girl can

Anybody know how a girl can get involved in this? Universal health care is a dream of mine, and I want to work in public health.


I'll look into that.


Do you have a link to the background and who's on the committee? Or maybe it's already here and I'm being a total slacker.




Will your BlueNC let you post comments with no text in the comment box? Mind won't. Which is why I write n/t all the time.