NC Medicaid: Another "independent" commission

The latest fad among the NC GOP pestilence is the disturbing trend of creating "independent" commissions to handle hot-potato political issues.

They created a commission to manage coal ash, and now they're talking about creating a commission to manage the state's Medicaid program.

A legislative panel on Thursday recommended draft legislation calling for taking oversight of the state Medicaid program away from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The legislation ... proposes creating a Health Benefits Authority to manage Medicaid

What makes this trend disturbing? Well, for starters, these commissions have no accountability. In fact, they are designed as a way for elected officials to avoid accountability.

The board would be required to keep Medicaid costs within that budget. If necessary, the board would have the power to reduce the rates doctors and hospitals are paid by Medicaid or to cut the services the program provides. That's what happened in Virginia when that state went to a similar authority system.

There you go. Legislators can indirectly attack poor people and blame it on the faceless "commission". Hey, folks, sorry you're suffering and dying, but we gotta stay within budget, you know!

These commissions, being filled with political appointees, inevitably end up consisting of cronies with few qualifications for whatever it is they're overseeing. For example, the "science" seat on the coal ash commission is filled by a guy who...umm...doesn't actually believe in science.

And as with all cronyism, the taxpayers get the shaft. The coal ash commission and the proposed Medicaid commission each pay about $1 million just in salaries to the appointed cronies.

The authority board would include DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and seven experts appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders, and they would be paid up to $125,000 each.

Having taken over state government, the NC GOP doesn't want to govern.



NC GOP priorities

When it comes to rolling out the red carpet for their corporate masters, the NC GOP ALEC shills drop everything and pass laws immediately.

When it comes to matters of life and death, they form a commission.

Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, pointed out that the board would actually be less accountable to people who rely on the program because the members are not elected officials, and much of what they would do would be conducted behind closed doors.

"You pay a big price when you cut Medicaid – people actually die," Insko said.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014