North Carolina treasurer touts health care reform with ‘Medical Debt Disarmament Act’ – Reuters

North Carolina treasurer touts health care reform with ‘Medical Debt Disarmament Act’

Posted at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 15, 2022

Republican Treasurer Dale Folwell visited Asheville to hear moving stories from North Carolinians facing health care costs and medical debt.

“When you see what’s happening to health care in western North Carolina, obviously that’s something worth going crazy for,” Folwell said Thursday in a public hearing. “That’s why we filed the Medical Debt Disarmament Act. It is a pro-family and anti-poverty law.

Bill 1039 would require hospitals, hospital-affiliated clinics, outpatient surgery centers, and healthcare providers with annual revenues over $20 million and licensed healthcare professionals working in these organizations to disclose pricing and assistance financial. They would also be required to provide minimum levels of free care and prohibit certain collection practices. The bill also requires:

  • provide free and discounted care based on patients’ household income;
  • requiring health care providers to determine whether the patient has health insurance and assisting them in purchasing public or private insurance;
  • disclosing the gross charges for all health care services and the amounts Medicare would reimburse for the same services.

“Anyone trying to make it a Democrat, Republican, or unaffiliated issue is lazy,” Folwell said. “It’s a moral issue. When people can’t make ends meet and when they can’t see themselves beyond their poverty…because of things associated with medical billing, that’s a problem. .

A press release distributed by Folwell’s office said medical debt was crippling the upward mobility of North Carolinians and threatening to create generational poverty. Research by Folwell’s office found that several state hospitals do not provide an amount of charitable care equal to the amount they receive in tax exemptions.

“We have to understand how we make a difference because it’s about community, it’s about people, it’s about caring, it’s about kindness, it’s about caring for those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” Brevard said. said Mayor Maureen Copelof during the hearing. “That’s what we all are. That’s what it’s all about in my community.

“That’s what my community is fighting for because we’re not going to sit idly by while people are dehumanized, while medicine is turned into a slot machine.”

Folwell said North Carolina’s state health plan is one of the largest unfunded health care liabilities in the country. He estimated that the health plan will need an additional $5 billion in funding over the next six years to remain operational.

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John A. Bogar