NC Senate passes substitute Medicaid expansion bill, sends it back to House

The bill passed in the Senate will now be sent back to the House of Representatives for concurrence, if that happens it will be sent to Governor Roy Cooper for final approval.
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Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:20 AM EDT
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NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV) - House Bill 76, a bill in the North Carolina General Assembly that would expand Medicaid coverage across the state passed in the State Senate on Wednesday afternoon. The bill isn’t off to Governor Roy Cooper’s desk yet though because the NC Senate introduced a proposed committee substitute (PCS) bill. That’s a bill that includes amendments and changes made to it while it was in a Senate Committee.

“The Senate’s version of House Bill 76, “Access to Healthcare Options,” expands Medicaid for adults making up to 138% of the federal poverty line, which is nearly $38,300 for a family of four. This will help end the hidden tax that North Carolinians currently pay by covering uncompensated care in the form of higher private insurance premiums,” according to a press release from Senator Ralph Hise’s office.

Related: Medicaid agreement in North Carolina closes in on passage

The PCS now means the NC House of Representatives will need to decide if the substitute bill aligns with their original bill. If the PCS bill is approved in the House, then it will be sent to Governor Cooper for his signature.

The bulk of expanding Medicaid will be paid for by the federal government but North Carolina will have to provide some funding as well.

“While the federal government covers 90% of the cost of expansion, the non-federal share in North Carolina will be covered by an assessment to hospitals. That means instead of using taxpayer funds to cover the 10% non-federal share, hospitals will pay that portion,” according to the press release. “The expanded coverage would not be effective until the budget becomes law.”

For more than 10 years states have been able to expand access to Medicaid but North Carolina is one of the few remaining states that have not done so. There’s been a recent change in thought within the legislature after more North Carolinians have called for expansion.

“Voters in North Carolina overwhelmingly support expansion. A recent poll found that 73% of North Carolinians support Medicaid expansion. Seventy-three percent of rural North Carolinians support expansion. Fifty-five percent of Republican voters also support expansion,” according to the release.

“This healthcare proposal is good for North Carolina. Our budget will be stronger because of it and our citizens will be healthier,” Sen. Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) said. “The reforms included in this package directly address the biggest impediments to healthcare availability and affordability.”

The bill has been placed on the NC House of Representatives calendar for March 22.

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