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Leaders on health policy in the North Carolina House are pushing their version of a bill to overhaul the state's most expensive health care program: Medicaid. The lawmakers rolled out the bill in committee Wednesday.

House leaders want to overhaul Medicaid by putting groups of doctors and hospitals in charge of managing the program. The state would give them a set amount of money based on who they treat, and the doctors would face financial penalties or rewards based on how they do. 

Republican Representative Nelson Dollar is one of the bill's sponsors. 

Alan Cleaver/Flickr
Alan Cleaver / Flickr/

In North Carolina, health insurance companies are planning to raise average premiums between 11 and 26 percent next year on the Affordable Care Act exchange or marketplace.

The state's dominant insurance company, BlueCross BlueShield, wants to raise average premiums about 26 percent – almost twice as much as last year's increase.   

Kaiser Health News

On Monday morning, a mayor in eastern North Carolina will begin walking to Washington, D.C, to highlight the challenges facing rural hospitals. Adam O'Neal is mayor of the small town of Belhaven, where the only hospital closed about a year ago.

After a heart attack or other health care emergency, the time it takes to get to a hospital can mean the difference between life and death.

Mayor Adam O'Neal says for the roughly 1,600 residents of Belhaven, "you have to go 30 miles on country roads for emergency care."

North Carolina leaders are calling out several cancer charities that barely used any of the money they raised to actually benefit cancer victims. Attorney General Roy Cooper and Secretary of State Elaine Marshall announced Tuesday they're part of a lawsuit against what they call "phony" charities. 

Secretary Marshall says government leaders "are sending the message to those trying to rip-off the giving public that we can find you, shut you down, and take you to court."

Michael Tomsic

In Charlotte and across the country, there’s a growing need at community health centers. They treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. And the increased need is a surprising result to some clinic leaders, who thought the Affordable Care Act would mean fewer people needing charity care.

North Carolina has some of the worst rated nursing homes in the country. A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation released Thursday shows the federal government gave more than 40 percent of the state's nursing homes one or two star ratings.

Nine nursing homes in the Charlotte area received the lowest possible rating, one star:

Carolinas Healthcare System and UnitedHealthcare have come to terms on a new contract. The agreement means that most UnitedHealthcare customers in the Charlotte metro area will continue to receive “in-network” coverage for services provided at CHS facilities.

Michael Tomsic / WFAE

One of the nation's most respected cancer hospitals for children is establishing an affiliate clinic in Charlotte. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital announced Tuesday it's partnering with Novant Health on the clinic.

National Conference of State Legislatures

Some North Carolina lawmakers want to roll back or repeal a law that regulates the building of new health care facilities. It's called a Certificate of Need law, and North Carolina has used it since the 1970s.

About three dozen states have Certificate of Need laws. They set up a review process through which states can determine when certain areas need new hospitals, surgical centers or even high-tech equipment.

Kaiser Health News

Patients rate hospitals in the Carolinas as good but not great. That's according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the federal government's new star ratings based on patient surveys.

Medicare didn't give a single hospital in North Carolina or South Carolina the lowest rating (one star), and there weren't a lot of five-star hospitals, either.