Friday, April 13, 2007

Health 4-13-07

I have co-sponsored legislation filed this week, (House Bill 1424) that would give Medicaid relief to the state's counties. Medicaid spending in the state has increased from $3.1 billion in 1995 to $8.5 billion in the last fiscal year. During that time, the counties' share of that spending has nearly tripled to about $450 million. The proposal would cap the counties' contributions to what they spent in the 2005-06 fiscal year and would also allow the state to offer financial help to poorer counties or others struggling to pay their share of Medicaid costs.

Another significant Health related bill I co-sponsored (House Bill 1476) would create a Carolina Cares for Children health insurance program. This program would be open to North Carolina residents under the age of 19 who are not eligible for health care under existing programs. This legislation would insure that all children in North Carolina have health care coverage.

Some nurses asked the North Carolina Board of Nursing to follow the lead of the state Medical Board by passing an ethics policy that bars its members from taking part in executions. The N.C. Nurses Association plans to discuss the issue later this month, but its position would not bind the licensing board. The group would have to seek legislation to keep nurses from participating in executions since the board has no authority to discipline its members for ethics violations as the medical board does. The Medical Board's policy has resulted in a de facto death penalty moratorium in the state as the courts seek to resolve the board's stance with a state law that requires doctors to attend executions.

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