NC House approves education spending plan

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RALEIGH — The North Carolina House unanimously approved an education spending plan Thursday that seeks to bypass a stalemate between the House and Senate on a larger budget deal.

The big difference in the state budget proposals is now narrowing down to one major issue — Medicaid spending.

The numbers in the two plans are so different that Thursday, senators called Goveror Pat McCrory’s state budget director Art Pope before them for an explanation, according to WTVD.

Pope told senators that research showed they wouldn’t need as much money as they’re budgeting to pay Medicaid bills, but even after a two-hour presentation, many senators didn’t seem to be convinced.

The big point of contention centers on backlogs in Medicaid applicants and backlogs of claims filed by health providers such as hospitals. Both sides appeared to be having a hard time getting hard, reliable data.

That’s due in part to computer problems with two North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services programs: NC FAST and NCTracks, which are supposed to manage health care and social services.

NC FAST has been beset with delays, causing the federal government to threaten to pull food stamp funding.

And, health care providers have complained for months about problems with the NCTracks system, many saying payments have lagged months behind schedule.

Senators said Thursday that the computer problems make forecasting the cost of the Medicaid system hard.

Source: WTVD