Push for transparent State Health Plan pricing blocked

Eamon Queeney—The North State Journal
State Treasurer Dale Folwell speaks at a Council of State meeting in Raleigh. Folwell says of his current push for transparency, “We’re doing what’s necessary at this point in our state’s history because others didn’t.”

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Some North Carolina legislators want to derail imminent changes to the health insurance plan for state employees, teachers and retirees that would rework how it pays hospitals and other service providers.

The House Health Committee voted on Tuesday to block State Treasurer Dale Folwell’s switch next year to a new pricing system for the 720,000-member State Health Plan. Folwell says his proposal would make health costs more transparent and save the state over $250 million annually.

But committee members — many of them Folwell’s fellow Republicans — say his changes are too rash and agree with hospital executives worried his changes would lower revenues and could force more rural facilities to close.

The committee voted instead to create a commission to recommend a long-term solution to keep the plan solvent.