Alexandra Olgin

Margaret Spellings, the former secretary of education and current president of the UNC system, says after two years on the job there is still more work to be done to lower the cost of a UNC education and she needs the legislature's help to keep the momentum going.  

DREAMers, children brought to the United States by their parents and living in the country illegally, are still uncertain about the future of the program that allows them to work and drive, and protects them from deportation.

Governor Roy Cooper was in Charlotte Friday to make his pitch to lawmakers to give schools more money to implement smaller class sizes. He visited with second graders at Cotswold Elementary School. Legislators mandated that elementary schools get kindergarten through third grade classes below 18 students by next school year. While Cooper thinks the idea could improve learning, he said the current plan puts schools in a tough situation because no extra money has been dedicated.

Preliminary numbers show 8.8 million people bought health insurance plans through the federal exchange this year nationwide. That’s 96 percent of last year’s sign-ups, despite a lot of changes to the Affordable Care Act and a shorter window to enroll. Sign-ups in the Carolinas were also close to that of last year.  

This is the last week to sign up for health insurance through the exchange. More than 209,000 people in North Carolina have enrolled as of the first week in December, according to the federal count. 

Starting today, the North Carolina Medicaid program will pay for medicines to treat hepatitis C for patients no matter how sick they are. In the past, the state wouldn’t pay for the expensive drugs unless the patient had stage two liver damage.  

There is now a disincentive for health insurance navigators to set up shop in rural areas. Navigators are those specially trained people that help consumers sign up for health insurance on the marketplace. The Trump administration has tied their funding to how many people they sign up for coverage on the marketplace. Since chances are higher of signing up more people in urban areas, navigators in South Carolina are focusing on cities at the expense of rural areas.

President Trump’s decision to stop paying subsidies to insurance companies means many middle class families will likely pay more for coverage. As part of the Affordable Care Act, insurers got those payments to help make health insurance affordable for customers.

UPDATED at 6:10 p.m. Thursday

Governors Roy Cooper of North Carolina and Henry McMaster of South Carolina have both declared a state of emergency so state and local officials can better prepare for Hurricane Irma.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster is ordering the evacuations of 143 health care facilities on the coast. He said he’ll decide Saturday morning whether to order an evacuation for residents. But he warns the major highways are already getting crowded with people leaving Florida and Georgia.

A few hundred people gathered in uptown Charlotte on Tuesday to express their anger and fear over the President’s decision to end DACA. They included DACA recipients and those who want to protect the legal status of these immigrants. Here are some of their voices. 

Elver Barrios: "2013 came and I got my work permit and I went to the DMV and I got my driver's license. I was so happy to have a driver's license in the state of North Carolina and to be able to drive without the fear of being deported. 2016 came and many of our dreams were shattered in November." 

Saturday is the second anniversary of the shootings in which nine people were murdered at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.