Cartel is a term frequently associated with illegal narcotics syndicates. In North Carolina, it has become the favored word of State Treasurer Dale Folwell to describe the state’s hospital industry, the antagonist in his quest to lower health care prices for state employees.
The treasurer manages the state employees’ health plan, which insures about 727,000 teachers, police officers, current and retired state workers and dependents. Folwell, a Republican, has tried to persuade hospitals to accept lower payments, but he has struggled to discover the existing rates the plan pays each hospital.
“These organizations’ business model is secrecy,” Folwell said, “from the billing all the way up to the way these hospitals’ organizations receive their tax-exempt status.”
Now, as Folwell, 62, seeks a second four-year term, the state’s hospitals are coming after him.
The North Carolina Healthcare Association, the hospital trade group, has endorsed Folwell’s Democratic challenger. It is a rare … Read the rest