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Old North State Report

May 17, 2019

Old North State Report – May 17, 2019

9th Congressional District Primary

Tuesday was Primary Election Day for Republicans running in NC’s 9th Congressional District.  The field of 10 candidates was narrowed to 1, with NC Senator Dan Bishop emerging victorious earning well-beyond the 30% vote needed to avoid a runoff.  Bishop will face Democrat Dan McCready, Libertarian Jeff Scott, and Green Party candidate Allen Smith in the General Election scheduled for September 10th.  NC’s 9th district runs along the NC/SC border, stretching from suburban Charlotte to suburban Fayetteville.

State Health Plan

Last week, the NC Department of Insurance gave final approval to the new reimbursement contracts medical-care providers would be required to sign in order to remain “in-network” under a controversial plan proposed by Treasurer Dale Folwell.  This week, those reimbursement contracts were officially posted.  Folwell’s “Clear Pricing Project” initiative would allow the State Health Plan to begin paying providers based on a percentage above current Medicare rates, along with an additional and adjustable profit margin.  The goal, Folwell said, is for providers to sign-on by June 30th.  Those who do not will be considered out-of-network.  Blue Cross Blue Shield will serve as third-party administrator of the contracts.  A number of stakeholders, including providers, along with many members of the state legislature, are not in favor of the Treasurer’s proposal.  Legislation has been filed, HB184, to stop the plan from moving forward, and instead, authorize a study committee to examine the SHP and reimbursement rates.  HB184 passed easily in the House, however the Senate has not been eager hear the bill in committee. While legislative action is at a standstill, Folwell appears to be moving full steam ahead. 

Tax Package Proposal

SB622 is one step closer to clearing the NC Senate. Yesterday, the “Tax Reduction Act of 2019” passed on second reading by a vote of 26-19.  It’s scheduled for third reading Monday evening, and will then be sent to the House for consideration.  The bill includes many of the same provisions included in the House budget proposal that was approved by that body two weeks ago.  The Senate is currently working on their version of a budget, it is expected to be released in the next couple weeks.  SB622 focuses on the reduction of the franchise tax in NC, and includes additional tax breaks for corporations and individuals.  The GOP-backed legislation is intended, among other things, to discourage NC-based companies from moving elsewhere, according to bill sponsors Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) and Sen. Paul Newton (R-Cabarrus).  One provision, however, would require companies like Amazon and eBay to collect sales tax on products they offer through third-party retailers.  Democrats say they can support some parts of the bill, but not all, as they say the legislation ultimately decreases revenue for the state.