North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory plans to make major changes to the state's Medicaid system. About
1.8 1.5 million North Carolinians who are low-income, young, elderly or disabled rely on Medicaid for health coverage.
McCrory said the current system is broken and inefficient. He pointed to an audit that showed the state has been horrible at managing the cost of the program. He said the state hasn't been much better at managing the care people get, either.
"The system does not treat the whole person," he said at a press conference in Raleigh. "It separates physical health from mental health and even substance abuse. That's costing a lot of money, and it's not taking care of these patients. This is changing starting today with these new proposals."
North Carolina will set up a coordinated system with a few big providers. They can be public or private, and they'll be chosen through a competitive process.
Those big providers will then be responsible for managing the Medicaid money they get. If they go over budget, McCrory said taxpayers won't be on the hook. N.C. Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos explained the idea.
"Our plan is to create a predictable funding system," she said. "It makes the comprehensive care entities ultimately responsible for the outcome."
Wos said she hopes to start rolling out the new Medicaid system in July 2015. But first, it needs to be approved by the federal government and the state legislature.
CLARIFICATION: About 1.8 million North Carolinians are eligible for Medicaid, but about 1.5 million actually receive Medicaid services.