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MCOs (Managed Care Companies) are a species of corporate locust but a cohort of silver-tongued Super PAC Managers and I.E. Campaign Managers are hard at work to convince legislators MCOs can heal by touch and walk on water – and save the state a billion dollars on Medicaid.

But here’re two facts from the General Assembly’s own Fiscal Research staff: In 2011, state Medicaid spent $3.8 billion and this year it’s spending $3.7 billion, a decrease of $100 million;—compare that to what pro-MCO groups are telling legislators: In one email the Carolina Partnership for Reform (CPR) told legislators state Medicaid spending has soared by $1.2 billion. In another email, it said Medicaid overspent its budget by $5 billion.

Here’s another example: In a third email, CPR said state Medicaid spent $3.4 billion in 2013. In a fourth, it told legislators Medicaid spent $4.5 billion the same year.

What MCO supporters are doing isn’t subtle or obscure: They’re trying to fool people into believing Medicaid spending is soaring, wildly out of control – and MCOs are the cure.

Not long ago the-powers-that-be-in-Raleigh decided to ‘privatize’ I-77 leading to Charlotte by turning it into a toll road. It sounded like a fine idea. Until later, when legislators learned the state had given the toll road builders a non-compete that said the state wouldn’t expand a major highway leading into Charlotte for fifty years – unless it paid the toll road owners first.

MCOs are this year’s I-77 toll road and political magicians promising they’ll save the state a billion dollars is pure hoodoo.

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