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Gov. Roy Cooper, Dr. Mandy Cohen spoke at first NC Council for Health Care Coverage meeting

Gov. Roy Cooper formed a bipartisan council to take a look at health care coverage in North Carolina.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Gov. Roy Cooper announced a new bipartisan council to review health care coverage in the state. 

The North Carolina Council for Health Care Coverage will be convened by the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, according to a release from Cooper's office. The council had its first virtual meeting Friday morning. Council members include members of the General Assembly, business leaders, nonprofit representatives, and health care experts. State DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen is also on the council. 

“This pandemic has further exposed the many challenges facing North Carolina’s fractured health care system,” Cooper said. “Too many hardworking North Carolinians cannot access affordable health coverage. This Council will guide North Carolina solutions that can help more people get the coverage they need.”

The Council reviewed the state of health care coverage in North Carolina, explored how other states have increased health care coverage and came up with policies to increase coverage in our state. 

As of 2019, 17% of adults were uninsured in North Carolina, the 6th highest rate in the U.S, according to Cooper's release. 

“North Carolina is a leader in innovative health care and access to health care impacts every aspect of our society. It is critical that we have a diverse group of opinions as we look at ways to improve our current system,” said Dr. Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D, Director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “I am confident that this Council can move us closer to health care solutions that are right for North Carolina.” Dr. McClellan formerly served as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Council members representing a variety of different viewpoints were selected from across the state. They include:

  • Rep. Gale Adcock, NC House of Representatives
  • Chip Baggett, CEO, NC Medical Society
  • Rep. Kristin Baker, NC House of Representatives
  • Rep. John Bell, NC House of Representatives
  • James Brigman, Pastor
  • Cassandra Brooks, Owner/Operator, Little Believer’s Academy
  • Senator Jim Burgin, NC Senate
  • Mandy Cohen, MD, Secretary, NC Dept of Health and Human Services
  • Casey Cooper, CEO, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority
  • Rep. Carla Cunningham, NC House of Representatives
  • Andy Ellen, President & General Counsel, NC Retail Merchants Association
  • Don Flow, Owner/CEO, Flow Automotive Companies
  • Mickey Foster, CEO, FirstHealth of the Carolinas
  • Tina Gordan, CEO, NC Nurses Association
  • Lisa Harrison, Director, Granville-Vance Public Health
  • Reg Henderson, VP, Government Relations, Lowe’s
  • Senator Ralph Hise, NC Senate
  • Vivian Howard, Restauranteur & Author
  • Senator Brent Jackson, NC Senate
  • Senator Joyce Krawiec, NC Senate
  • Rep. Donny Lambeth, NC House of Representatives
  • Steve Lawler, President, NC Healthcare Association
  • Mehul Mankad, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Alliance Health
  • Kenya McNeil-Trice, MD, Professor and Vice Chair of Education in Pediatrics, UNC
  • Tommy Newton, MD, Family Physician
  • Lynne Pierce, Executive Director, SAFE Food Ministry
  • Dave Richard, Deputy Secretary, NC Dept of Health and Human Services
  • Sen. Gladys Robinson, NC Senate
  • Gary Salamido, President and CEO, NC Chamber
  • Merritt Seshul, MD, NC Medical Society Representative
  • Erica Smith, Executive Director, Care4Carolina
  • Tunde Sotunde, MD, President and CEO, Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
  • Margaret Weller-Stargell, President and CEO, Coastal Horizons
  • Rep. Donna White, NC House of Representatives
  • Dale Wiggins, Chairman, Graham County Board of Commissioners
  • Senator Mike Woodard, NC Senate
  • Patrick Woodie, President, NC Rural Center
  • Gene Woods, President and CEO, Atrium Health

The Council will conclude its work by the end of January.