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NC Gov. Cooper, healthcare advocates take victory lap on Medicaid expansion

Gov. Roy Cooper and health care advocates celebrated Friday the official launch of Medicaid expansion in North Carolina. It’s the result of state legislation this year that is expected to help about 600,000 low-income adults get government health insurance.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Cooper, who visited the Charlotte Goodwill facility where a Medicaid enrollment event was held, said the rally was a sign that the state would agree to Medicaid coverage provided through the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The decision marks the end of a “long and winding road” for the government, the Charlotte Observer reported. .

North Carolina became the 40th state, along with the District of Columbia, to accept the expansion since it began applying in 2014. The Democratic governor has made expansion a top priority since taking office in 2017.

North Carolina expands Medicaid coverage to provide health care to hundreds of thousands of people in need

“My dream of 10 years has finally become a reality,” he said at a press conference.

The expansion provides low-cost health care to people ages 19 to 64 who earn too much to qualify for traditional Medicaid but not enough to benefit from the public subsidies typically available with private health insurance. We provide

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaks to a crowd in front of US President Joe Biden, who is visiting semiconductor manufacturer Wolfspeed, as he begins his American investment tour in Durham, North Carolina, on March 28, 2023. make a statement. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)

Cooper’s office announced Friday that about 300,000 people who receive family planning benefits and are eligible for full Medicaid coverage under the expansion have been automatically enrolled. Enrollment should increase over time as social service agencies meet with residents. Other registration events are also scheduled across the state in the coming days.

One of the new enrollees, Penelope Wingard, received her Medicaid card from Cooper on Friday. She shared her experience of losing her health insurance during treatment for her breast cancer, undergoing treatment, and racking up thousands of dollars in debt.

“It’s like I was punished for being sick,” Wingard said, adding that her tears Friday were “tears of joy.”

Charlotte Community Health Clinic CEO Carolyn Allison estimated Friday that about half of the uninsured people who visit the clinic will qualify for Medicaid.

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Republicans, who have controlled Congress since 2011, have long been wary of accepting an expansion in which the federal government would pay for 90% of health care costs.

But Republican leaders have recently warmed to the idea, piqued by the prospect of a $1.8 billion bonus for the state from Washington if North Carolina joins. The state’s hospitals cover 10% of North Carolina’s share. The expansion is expected to help local hospital finances and the local economy.

The expansion bill passed Congress with bipartisan support in March and was signed by Cooper. In early October, the state budget was passed. This is the final step before the governor’s administration formally accepts funding increases from federal regulators.

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“All Americans deserve access to quality, affordable health care,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Friday, also praising Cooper and bipartisan support. “Today, we are one step closer to fulfilling that promise as 600,000 North Carolinians now have access to the affordable, quality coverage they need under Medicaid.”

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