Lawmakers reach Medicaid expansion agreement in Raleigh
Since 2010 states have had the option to expand the eligibility requirements for Medicaid recipients, North Carolina is one of 11 states that still haven’t.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After years of debate between lawmakers in the N.C. General Assembly an agreement to expand Medicaid. Speaker of the House Tim Moore along with Senate Leader Phil Berger announced the agreement on Thursday morning during a press conference.
The Senate has made modifications to a House bill and it appears it will move forward this year.
Medicaid expansion has been a topic of debate since President Obama’s Affordable Care Act allowed states the option to increase eligibility. The expansion will provide billions of dollars to the state to provide the additional healthcare.
North Carolina is one of 11 states that has not expanded the coverage since 2010.
The expansion will be included in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget which should be complete by June 30. Expanding eligibility of Medicaid will provide additional coverage to North Carolinians who might make too much money to receive the federal healthcare benefits but not enough to afford private insurance.
Berger and Moore plan to speak with Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday to discuss the expansion plans but made it clear the tentative agreement came from agreements between the House and Senate.
The expansion is not expected to happen immediately, something that the legislators expect Cooper will push for.
“An agreement by legislative leaders to expand Medicaid in North Carolina is a monumental step that will save lives and I commend the hard work that got us here. Since we all agree this is the right thing to do, we should make it effective now to make sure we leverage the money that will save our rural hospitals and invest in mental health. I look forward to reviewing the details of the bill,” Cooper said in a press release following the announcement.
Attorney General Josh Stein thanked Cooper in a statement of his own following the news and said he’s happy this agreement is moving forward.
“There is one simple thing the state of North Carolina needs to do to improve the health and livelihoods of the people of our state: expand Medicaid now. Today’s news is a long time coming. I look forward to reviewing the bill. I thank Governor Cooper for his steadfast leadership and relentless pursuit of this goal. I also appreciate the legislators’ efforts,” Stein said.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) also issued a statement commending the agreement and said the expansion will bring much needed funding to the state.
“Expansion and HASP* will bring $8 billion annually to North Carolina with no additional cost to the state, along with $1.8 billion which can support behavioral health, public safety support, rural health care, and other needs. North Carolina can receive an additional $1.8 billion in HASP payments if we are able to implement both these programs this fiscal year,” according to a NCDHHS press release.
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