The Senate has decided to postpone its vote on the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which will provide more time for the NCMS to communicate its grave concerns to our Senators. To ensure the best outcome in reforming our health care system, a more deliberative approach must be taken. Political expediency will likely create new problems and add to the problems with previous reforms.
As proposed, the BCRA will negatively affect our state’s most vulnerable citizens. Approximately 2.03 million North Carolinians rely on the Medicaid program to cover their health needs. Review a summary of the bill by the AMA.
The BCRA would weaken the health infrastructure in our state. For North Carolina’s rural and urban safety-net hospitals and physician practices, Medicaid funding is a financial lifeline.  Of the 1,348,300 North Carolinians who will lose health coverage under the BCRA, almost half, (47%) are indigent and will lack the resources needed to secure health coverage anywhere else. This puts them, and North Carolina’s health infrastructure, back in the untenable and unsustainable condition that prevailed before 2010.
The bill in its current format would have devastating effects on our citizenry and our health care system. North Carolina has already taken a bold step in reforming its Medicaid program and is pursuing a waiver from CMS with the goal of more budget predictability and substantial savings to the program. These are the Medicaid program goals that Congress and the North Carolina General Assembly have pursued for years. The Medicaid funding cuts in BCRA would seriously undermine the viability of those reforms.
The NCMS continues to provide leadership in developing guides for numerous medical and surgical specialties on how to practice successfully in an accountable care environment. This month, the NCMS launched an educational program for doctors that includes a hands-on tutorial on how to practice under the new MACRA guidelines. The physicians of this state have already shown tremendous leadership and taking great steps  in meeting the needs of our uninsured and underinsured population. The BCRA, in its current form, would only exacerbate the challenges the state and its indigent citizens are facing in obtaining health services when needed. The NCMS will continue to express its grave concerns regarding BCRA and the impact it will have on our state. Stay tuned for updates on this important issue.
Related links:
Bowtie Briefing for June 23, 2017