WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - As Dale Folwell prepares to begin a second term as North Carolina State Treasurer, he has laid out several priorities he would like the office to tackle in the next four years. Folwell, a Certified Public Accountant from Winston-Salem, currently holds a lead of about 275,000 votes in his reelection race against challenger Ronnie Cahtterji.
“One, maintain North Carolina’s Triple-A bond rating,” Folwell said, starting his list of priorities. “Number two, keep the (State Employees') pension plan fully funded and one of the best, not just in the United States, but in the world. Three, to work toward getting rid of secret health care contracts, which is not only afflicting state employees but all citizens across North Carolina. A fourth one we’ve talked about is an understanding of what’s really going on in this COVID world with rural North Carolina, especially rural eastern North Carolina.”
Folwell tried to take on the healthcare contracts issue during his first term by introducing the Clear Pricing Project, using the size of the State Employees Health Plan to change the way providers are reimbursed. Most large hospitals and healthcare systems opted not to take part in the plan, and last August resulted in the Plan maintaining the current provider network while adding the thousands of providers agreeing to the new model. In 2021, Folwell says the 727,000 state employees covered under the Plan will see additional benefits.
"Starting next year we’re going to be eliminating some of the co-pays and deductibles for our state employees who go to ‘Clear Pricers’, he said. “So, there’s an incentive for those who teach, protect and otherwise serve to go to providers of healthcare in this state who no longer want to be a part of secret pricing.”
Folwell has spoken against the proposed sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health. He says consolidating healthcare will lead to lower quality, lower access and higher costs. Even though local leaders believe the multi-billion dollar sale will mean high-quality, cost-effective healthcare for the region, Folwell is not a supporter.
“That’s not happened anywhere else where they’ve consolidated healthcare,” the treasurer contends. “What I’ve consistently said is that the folks in this community had a gem. Independent, profitable, accessible, high quality healthcare. It was formed over 50 years ago with the coming together of this community. Now it’s being taken over, and the concentration of healthcare is going to be in the hands of fewer and fewer people.”