This week action focused on piecemeal budget bills with local targets and one major budget item, pay for teachers. The legislature keeps passing bills to allow various businesses to open during the pandemic, and the governor continues to veto them. The Senate passed a bill to allow people to carry guns to church services held in schools and a bill that would allow local areas to hold July 4 parades and other activities in spite of the restrictions the governor has ordered for the pandemic.
NC NOW Legislative Update—25 May 2020
The NC legislature is back in session. At the end of each long session, a resolution is passed that determines the bills that can be considered in the upcoming short session. Here is a link to an overview of the categories of bills that can be considered in this 2020 short session along with a list of crossover bills that are also eligible to be considered: https://www.ncleg.gov/documentsites/legislativepublications/Legislative%20Analysis%20Division/Eligible%20Bills/Bills%20Eligible%20for%20Consideration%20for%202020%20Session.pdf.
Under normal circumstances, the short session would focus on tweaking the budget, local bills, and bills that passed one house or the other during the long session. However, these are not normal circumstances. The legislators are so divided along partisan lines that no budget was passed during the long session. Republicans passed a budget along party lines; Governor Cooper vetoed it; and Republicans were unable to override the veto.
Posted in legislative update, medicaid expansion, NC budget, ncga, state budget issues, voting
Tagged legislative update, medicaid expansion, NC budget, ncga, state budget, voting
NC NOW is capturing some articles on the need for Medicaid expansion here. This is not an extensive list, since NC has refused to expand Medicaid for over 10 years. Since the state legislature again refused to expand Medicaid during a session that began April 28, 2020, there has been another set of articles. Find an op-ed on the need for Medicaid Expansion, written by NC NOW’s state president, at “Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion Again – 5/5/20,” at https://wp.me/p22b2e-2CU. The News and Observer picked it up, but shortened it – under the heading of Expanding Medicaid for coronavirus patients only leaves too many still at risk in NC, 5/5/20. The shortened version ran in the N&O, Durham Herald/Sun and probably in the Charlotte Observer (verifying last one). The Fayetteville Observer ran the whole op-ed, adding a few words and phrases for emphasis. Find it at State Legislature Refuses Gift of Medicaid Expansion – Again.
We Must Expand Medicaid! Read about why, and take action here.
The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already struggling in NC. Now, another NC hospital is filing for bankruptcy. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems in every county if implemented fully. For a deeper understanding of this issue, click here.
Take action here. If you have a personal story, or are religious, you may add reasons from that perspective.
The pandemic is exposing people and institutions who were barely getting by and now will fail with insufficient assistance. Rural hospitals were already struggling in NC. Now, another NC hospital is filing for bankruptcy, this one in Senator Berger’s district. According to UNC’s Sheps Center, seven have closed since 2010, and another failing Rockingham County hospital got a 5 year reprieve in 2018. NC already faces an opioid epidemic, having lost 2000 people to opioid overdose in 2017 alone. In addition, NC had 11,848 coronavirus cases and 430 deaths reported by NCDHHS on Monday, 5/4/20. Now, coronavirus is forcing hospital revenues down while increasing costs to get ready to care for critically ill covid-19 patients. Hospital failures can devastate local economies. Yet, the NC legislature continues to refuse the gift of Medicaid Expansion which would alleviate health and economic problems in every county if implemented fully.
Posted in Access to facilities, coronavirus, health care, jobs, Medicaid, medicaid expansion, ncga, ncga interference, safety net
Tagged Access to facilities, coronavirus, health care, Jobs, medicaid, medicaid expansion, ncga, ncga interference, safety net
Rural hospitals are cutting services and even worse, closing. Billions of dollars meant to support health care in NC have been sent to other states, to those states smart enough to take advantage of great deal to expand Medicaid. Stop hurting NC’s people and economy, Senator Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore. Expand Medicaid NOW! The Coronavirus is exposing how close to the edge many people live with no savings and no health care and so many jobs lost or suspended during the pandemic. More people will die because local hospitals have closed, hospitals that expanding Medicaid would have supported.
NC NOW is sharing Health Action NC’s letter to the NCGA leadership and Governor Cooper to close the coverage gap in NC by expanding Medicaid. 158 orgs, business owners and associations signed on in a matter of days. You can sign a petition urging NC Legislature to Expand Medicaid as an Emergency Response to coronavirus COVID-19.
See whole report including summary and bill tracking at NC NOW Legislative Update #29.v1
The fireworks over the House vote to override the budget veto continue. Rep. Darren Jackson has taken a lie detector test and challenged Speaker Moore to do the same. At issue is whether Rep. Jackson was told that the session where the vote to override the budget veto was taken would be a no voting session. Speaker Moore dismissed the challenge claiming that it was a publicity stunt. See: https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nc/charlotte/news/2019/09/23/representative-takes-lie-detector-test-after-budget-veto-override
North Carolina NOW Legislative Update—September 3, 2019
Jump to the full summary and listing of bills NC NOW is tracking at NC NOW Legislative Update #27 (3Sep19).
There has been movement on both the budget and Medicaid transformation. To get around the impasse over the vetoed budget, the legislature has passed a slew of stand-alone budget bills addressing specific areas. Most significantly, bills giving pay raises to various state employees were passed and signed by Governor Cooper because both the vetoed budget and the Governor’s proposed compromise budget agree on these pay raises. However, the two budgets do not agree on pay raises for teachers. The bill dealing with teacher pay raises was sent back to committee because Democrats had prepared ten amendments. Republicans did not want recorded votes against these proposed amendments. This summary by Rep. Marcia Morey of Durham nicely sums up the situation:
Posted in budget, legislative update, Medicaid, medicaid expansion, NC budget, state budget issues, teachers
Tagged budget, medicaid, medicaid expansion, NC budget, nc budget issues
Stories are powerful. Filmmaker Rebecca Cerese captured stories from people around the state who are caught in the health care coverage gap. She shared some stories on film and some she told. One of Rebecca’s storytellers came in person and her story of her daughter was heartbreaking.
Watching one of the stories Photo Credit: Gailya Paliga
“Living without health insurance is like playing Russian Roulette with your life.” Jesse, Moore County. All over our State, many North Carolinians are unable to get the medical care they need because they don’t have any health coverage. Rebecca Cerese, the Health Engagement Coordinator for the NC Justice Center, amplifies their stories, in hopes of creating real policy change. She will be sharing some of these stories and discussing ways we can work together to fix this problem.
Filmmaker Rebecca Cerese at work, Photo Credit: Steve Whitsitt