Kaiser Health News / North Carolina Health News, October 8, 2013

In the hallway outside meeting rooms at the North Carolina Public Health Association, exhibitors gave away pens, chocolate and brochures. The types of organizations that usually attend public health conferences were in attendance: companies selling electronic health records, vaccine manufacturers and advocacy groups such as the Alzheimer's Association. But at this year's conference, there were three new exhibitors – Centene Corporation, Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare – all companies that potentially would bid for contracts with North Carolina should the state decide to privatize Medicaid, the program that provides health care to almost 1.6 million disabled and low-income patients in North Carolina.

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