North Carolina closer to Medicaid expansion with new passed legislation

During the latest session of North Carolina's General Assembly, the state House of Representatives and Senate passed separate bipartisan legislation that will move the state closer to expanding Medicaid coverage, WFAE reported July 31. 

It is the first compromise on the issue in a decade, though the chambers were not able to work out their differences before the session ended July 1. 

"We are closer than ever to agreement on Medicaid expansion," Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said while signing North Carolina's 2022 state budget. 

North Carolina Republican state leaders have opposed expansion for years because of a distrust that Congress would actually pay 90 percent of expansion costs and argued the state had already overspent on Medicaid. 

Now, after seeing the federal government has made good on its promise of providing funding and that North Carolina Medicaid spending is under control, state Republicans have become more open to expansion. 

GOP leaders don't expect the state to have to spend more than $600 million a year with the expansion, which they are assured can be covered through state hospital and insurance plan assessments.

"There is a lot of work that needs to be done ... but overall we are feeling extremely encouraged by how far we've come," Erica Palmer Smith, executive director of Care4Carolina, a coalition in support of Medicaid expansion, told WFAE.

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