At a signing ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, Governor Roy Cooper signed a bill that will allow expansion of Medicaid health insurance in North Carolina to as many as 600,000 residents.
The new measure also loosens the state’s Certificate of Need restrictions on hospitals adding beds and medical facilities purchasing expensive equipment.
North Carolina becomes the 40th state to approve expanding Medicaid, which extend eligibility for the federal health insurance program to all adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, the News and Observer reports.
While the law was passed with bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled General Assembly, it is tied to approval of a state government budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.
That could lead to a showdown between GOP lawmakers and the Democratic governor later this summer over other provisions in the spending package.
Republicans have a super majority in the Senate, and are one vote shy in the House, which could limit Cooper’s ability to veto the budget if it has other provisions that he does not like.
What they are saying about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina:
Governor Roy Cooper
“Medicaid expansion is a once-in-a-generation investment that will strengthen our mental health system, boost our rural hospitals, support working families and so much more. This is a historic step toward a healthier North Carolina that will bring people the opportunity of better health and a better life.”
N.C. Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kody H. Kinsley
“This a historic moment that will transform the health and well-being of North Carolina. Medicaid expansion is foundational in improving access to health care in rural areas, for better mental health and for veterans, working adults and their families. For 600,000 people, Medicaid expansion is life changing.”
State Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger
“While this is a momentous occasion, our work is not done. We need to continue to forge ahead with additional supply-side reforms. We were able to make a good dent in reforming our state’s certificate of need laws, but we can do more to remove the red tape that healthcare facilities and providers face in North Carolina.”
State House Speaker Tim Moore
“What a huge policy direction this is, that will provide help for so many in this state, but it’s going to do it in a way that’s fiscally responsible. When you put a pen to the back of the napkin, it’s a net break even at worst, a net positive frankly if you do the math on it. Considering the HASP funds and the work provisions put in place in this bill along with other safeguards, our workforce will remain strong as we expand it in the most conservative and fiscally responsible way possible. I look forward to passing a strong conservative budget for North Carolina so that expansion can take affect.”
Dr. Michael Waldrum, CEO, ECU Health:
“This is a historic day for health care in our state and especially here in eastern North Carolina. ECU Health has advocated for Medicaid expansion for more than six years as we witness first-hand the challenges uninsured and underinsured patients face. With expanded coverage, more patients can receive the care they need to keep them well. We appreciate lawmakers recognizing the importance of providing coverage for our vulnerable community members and this landmark moment is a major accomplishment that will improve the lives of many families across the state. While Medicaid expansion and HASP funding will not solve all the challenges facing rural health care, ECU Health is grateful to see this important legislation become law.”
John Locke Foundation president Donald Bryson
“Nearly 2,300 days ago, Gov. Cooper tried to expand Medicaid by Executive Order, and it has been his top priority during his tenure. Now Republican legislative leaders have given Cooper his biggest victory, given a seal of approval to Obamacare, and sent the state budget into uncharted waters. Today is a loss for conservatism.”