Speaking to members of the press and a group of students she acknowledged before beginning the press conference at 1 p.m., Gov. Bev Perdue announced that North Carolina will go forward with establishing a state-federal exchange. The announcement comes under a fast-approaching deadline that other states around the country are currently facing. States must notify the federal government by tomorrow, Nov. 16, about which health exchange they will establish.
Perdue said that she intentionally waited until after the election to make this announcement to give her time to speak with governor-elect, Pat McCroy. However, she was not shy about reminding the media that her wish had been for North Carolina to establish a state exchange. But the legislature did not share this wish during its last legislative session, missing the deadline for establishing a state exchange, a one-stop shop to buy health insurance. By choosing this option, North Carolina can eventually move toward a state exchange if it so desires.
The full release from the office of Gov. Bev Perdue can be found below:
RALEIGH – Gov. Bev Perdue today declared the state’s intent to establish a state-federal partnership exchange to support implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Governor signaled her support of the grant application to begin North Carolina’s health care exchange planning process. Her decision gives North Carolina input and a degree of control over the health care decision making process, and provides greater flexibility for the incoming administration.
Gov. Perdue notified Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, legislative leaders and Governor-elect Pat McCrory about her decision to choose the state-federal partnership model for expanded health care.
“North Carolina is moving forward with implementing a process that provides much needed health insurance for every citizen,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “It is critical for our state to participate in decisions that affect our state’s citizens. We will not cede total control to the federal government. It remains my goal to pursue a state-based plan.”
Under North Carolina Session Law 2011-391, the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NC DOI) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) are charged with collaborating and planning in the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. NC DOI is the lead agency in planning North Carolina’s work regarding a Health Insurance Exchange.
Today is the deadline for states to submit grant applications for two of the three options available: full state control or a state-federal partnership. North Carolina missed the opportunity to set up a state-based exchange by 2014, since the legislature did not act on the issue during the last legislative session.
North Carolina will collaborate with the U.S. Department of Human Service’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight in establishing a Health Insurance Exchange. That program will expand access to health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
The letter to Secretary Sebelius is attached and available online at http://www.governor.state.nc.us/.