- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 2, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Struggling North Carolina rural hospitals could get taxpayer-funded loans to help them stay open while they downsize or reshape services in legislation getting bipartisan support in the state Senate.

The chamber voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for the measure that would create a Rural Health Care Stabilization Fund.

Senate leader Phil Berger is the chief advocate of the bill now heading to the House. He says loans with favorable terms could provide a financial bridge to hospitals trying to change with the times but that are in the red.

While the University of North Carolina health care system would oversee the initiative, the Local Government Commission would approve loans.

The separate budget bill approved by the legislature but vetoed by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper would give $20 million to the fund.



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