Medicaid expansion may be enacted in North Carolina, pending approval of final budget

North Carolina passes budget that could expand Medicaid to cover 600,000 adults who lack health insurance eligibility or income, but efforts tied to expanding casino licenses are off the table This remains the final hurdle.

Expansion appears to be back on a smoother track after Republican legislative leaders said late Tuesday that they would stick to the language of the landmark Medicaid expansion bill that Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed in March. . The law stipulated that Medicaid would go into effect only after a state budget covering the current fiscal year was passed.

The final negotiated two-year spending plan will be voted on Thursday and Friday before going to Cooper’s desk.

North Carolina is considering expanding Medicaid to thousands of low-income adults starting in October. 1

This is good news for Lisa Franklin, who is not on Medicaid since her son turned 18 earlier this year, but is dealing with liver failure and a possible transplant while facing medical debt. She visited the legislative offices of Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore on Wednesday to advocate for expanded Congress to help people like her.

After the speech, Mr. Franklin, 41, of Forest City, said, “There are many tests and other things coming up that I couldn’t do. I have to choose what kind of tests and treatments I can do.” To the burger staff. “We need this Medicaid expansion enacted in North Carolina, and we need it now.”

Just because Medicaid expansion, one of Mr. Cooper’s top priorities, crosses the finish line if the budget passes does not mean it will be easy for Democrats to vote in favor of the plan. It would include Republican priorities such as lower taxes and expanding school choice, as well as items that would strengthen the power of Congress and the courts.

Lisa Franklin, right, speaks to staff from Senate Majority Leader Phil Berger’s office about the need for Medicaid expansion at the Capitol in Raleigh on September 30, 2023. On Tuesday, Republicans approved language in a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of North Carolina residents. ( )

“We want to expand Medicaid, but not at the cost of so many terrible things,” state Rep. Marcia Morley, a Durham County Democrat, said Wednesday.

Mr. Cooper said last week that he did not know whether he would veto the budget. Republicans hold narrow veto-proof majorities in both chambers, and Moore and Berger said they expect all Republicans, and even some Democrats, to vote in favor of the plan. Told.

Republicans have different views on the budget, the final version of which was released Wednesday afternoon, with more than 1,400 pages of text and related financial documents. The package directs how the state will spend $29.8 billion this year and $30.9 billion next year.

The personal income tax rate would be reduced from the current 4.75% to 3.99% by 2026, rather than 2027 as required by current state law. And if revenue collection standards are met, it could drop to 2.49% in a few years.

A program that gives taxpayer-funded scholarships to children from low- and moderate-income families to attend private schools will be available to all families with students in kindergarten through high school.

North Carolina’s Medicaid program once again delays treatment for people with mental illnesses and disabilities

Regular state employees will get a 4% raise this year and 3% next year, while average teacher salaries will increase by at least 7% over two years. The plan also sets aside $2 billion for 200 water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

“We are very proud of this budget,” Moore said. “It’s going to lower taxes. It’s going to invest in our infrastructure from one end of the state to the other… and it’s going to use North Carolina’s resources wisely so our state continues to grow and prosper.” I need to see it.”

Republican legislative leaders were trying to pass provisions in the General Assembly that would allow four more casinos across the state and legalize video gambling machines.

In the face of fierce opposition from social conservatives, some Republican lawmakers floated the idea of ​​making passing a stand-alone bill that includes gambling items a mandatory bill that would need to be passed to begin implementing Medicaid expansion. . But Mr. Cooper and nearly all Democrats opposed the idea, saying it would break previous promises in the original expansion law.


By late Tuesday, Moore and Berger postponed gambling to another day and said the original Medicaid triggering conditions would remain in place.

“Medicaid expansion remains contingent on the budget becoming law,” Berger said.

The budget was expected to be passed by July 1, but negotiations continued throughout the summer. The holdup meant that the Oct. 1 date that state Health and Human Services Secretary Cody Kinsley had targeted to begin offering Medicaid has been pushed back to at least December.

Abby Emanuelson, leader of Care4Carolina, a coalition of 190 organizations that has been working on expansion since 2014, expressed “pleasure and gratitude” that Medicaid expansion appears to be on track.

“Once the budget is passed, we will work to make significant improvements to our people’s health, our economy, and our healthcare system as a whole,” he added.

Leave a Reply