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As North Carolina teachers return to classrooms, they surely have much on their minds. Fortunately, they will no longer have to worry about the status of their in-network coverage for 2020 under the State Health Plan.

Thanks to principled and tenacious efforts of our state’s hospitals, health systems and other partners, teachers will be able to keep their in-network access to local health care providers and hospitals for the upcoming year.

For months, 700,000 teachers, state employees and retirees have felt caught in the middle of an ongoing debate over how to best stabilize the State Health Plan for the long term.

The N.C. Healthcare Association and our member hospitals and health systems repeatedly offered to work with the state treasurer toward a more sustainable and transparent future for the plan. One that helps to improve citizens’ health and save the state money, without harming hospitals and communities. The offer stands.

If this close-call catastrophe has taught us anything, it should be that government can’t fix complex health care problems on its own. Our state’s health care providers need to be involved up front. A “my way or the highway” approach, which puts politics ahead of people, does not lead to a better plan, and it certainly does not lead to a healthier state.

Stephen Lawler

Cary

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