Sunday sampler

I wish the papers had done some hard-nosed reporting on how the state’s politicians feel about gun control and the shredding mental health safety net. They didn’t. But that isn’t to say that there isn’t some good enterprise journalism on the front pages of the state’s papers today.

Burlington— The Times-News looks at what is going to happen on Jan. 1, when Medicaid cuts for personal care services — think assisted living and services for people with mental illness — are scheduled to start. We’re talking cuts that will affect thousands of people and hundreds of businesses. “Earlier this year, the N.C. General Assembly raised the level of disability needed to receive PCS funding. Alamance County Department of Social Services Adult Care Unit Supervisor Susan York said the federal government required the state to standardize how it distributed PCS funding to adult group homes because the state was out of compliance with federal standards.”

Charlotte and Raleigh— The Observer and the N&O continue their investigation into how hospitals finances are managed and passed onto patients. This installment: “Hospitals are increasingly buying doctors’ practices, then sending bills for routine services that are significantly higher than those charged by independent doctors.” Years ago, this is exactly what a local doctor told me would happen as Moses Cone Hospital was buying up local practices.

Fayetteville— The Observer continues its excellent work tracking the military operations overseas and at home. This week it is a look back at the Iraq war one year after its end and whether it was worth the cost. “‘The short answer is, it’s too early to tell,’ said Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, who deployed to Iraq four times and now serves as deputy commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. The long-term answer, Buchanan said, depends on choices the Iraqi people will make in the next five or so years.”

WilmingtonIf this doesn’t anger you about how government works, I don’t know what will. The former New Hanover ABC chief, convicted in 2011 of obtaining property by false pretense, is getting a retirement benefit from the state of $16,238 a month. That’s the seventh highest pension in the state.

Greensboro — The N&R takes on the growing Internet sweepstakes industry, which to me translates into gambling. Given the state Supreme Court ruling, the end could be near…but maybe not. They have certainly contributed to the state’s economy. “In the current budget ending next June, sweepstakes businesses already have injected more than $560,000 in licensing fees. The number of large-scale cafes with 15 or more gaming machines jumped from 14 such licensees at year’s end to 29 this fall, at least 25 of which remained up and running full tilt as of last week.”

Update: Then there is Lenox Rawlings, sports columnist with the Winston-Salem Journal, who wrote his final column for the paper today. Should have been on the front, but wasn’t.

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