• Re: NC approves Medicaid expansion, reversing long opposition

    From matt@21:1/5 to All on Thu Mar 23 21:19:50 2023
    XPost: alt.politics.republicans, nc.general, sac.politics
    XPost: talk.politics.guns

    On 03 Oct 2021, Bob Duncan <bob7duncan@gmail.com> posted some news:sjcds6$bsn$2@news.dns-netz.com:

    It's about time they give the people who built this country something.

    RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Medicaid expansion deal in North Carolina received
    final legislative approval on Thursday, capping a decade of debate over
    whether the closely politically divided state should accept the federal government's coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income adults.

    North Carolina is one of several Republican-led states that have begun considering expanding Medicaid after years of steadfast opposition. Voters
    in South Dakota approved expansion in a referendum in November. And in
    Alabama, advocates are urging lawmakers to take advantage of federal
    incentives to expand Medicaid in order to provide health insurance to more working people.

    When Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, a longtime expansion advocate, signs the
    bill, it should leave 10 states in the U.S. that haven't adopted
    expansion. North Carolina has 2.9 million enrollees in traditional
    Medicaid coverage. Advocates have estimated that expansion could help
    600,000 adults.

    “Medicaid Expansion is a once in a generation investment that will make
    all North Carolina families healthier while strengthening our economy, and
    I look forward to signing this legislation soon,” Cooper tweeted.

    There’s no set start date in the final bill for expansion under the legislation, but it still comes with one caveat: It can’t happen until
    after a state budget is approved. This usually happens in the early
    summer. Cooper panned that provision, which could give GOP leaders
    leverage to include unrelated items he may strongly oppose.

    The House voted 87-24 in favor of the deal, after little debate and a preliminary vote on Wednesday. Many Democratic members on the floor stood
    and clapped after it passed, which is usually not permitted under chamber rules. Almost two-thirds of the House Republicans also voted yes. The
    Senate already approved the legislation last week in near-unanimous votes.

    The final agreement also included provisions scaling back or eliminating regulations that require state health officials to sign off before medical providers open certain new beds or use equipment. Senate Republicans
    demanded the “certificate of need” changes in any deal.

    Republicans in charge of the General Assembly for years had been skeptical about expansion, which originated from the federal Affordable Care Act
    signed into law by President Barack Obama 13 years ago Thursday.

    GOP legislators passed a law in 2013 specifically preventing a governor's administration from seeking expansion without express approval by the
    General Assembly. But interest in expansion grew over the past year as lawmakers concluded that Congress was neither likely to repeal the law nor raise the low 10% state match that coverage requires.

    A financial sweetener contained in a COVID-19 recovery law means North
    Carolina also would get an estimated extra $1.75 billion in cash over two
    years if it expands Medicaid. Legislators hope to use much of that money
    on mental health services.

    A turning point came last May when Senate leader Phil Berger, a longtime expansion opponent, publicly explained his reversal, which was based
    largely on fiscal terms.

    In a news conference, Berger also described the situation faced by a
    single mother who didn't make enough money to cover insurance for both her
    and her children, which he said meant that she would either end up in the emergency room or not get care. Expansion covers people who make too much
    money for conventional Medicaid but not enough to benefit from heavily subsidized private insurance.

    “We need coverage in North Carolina for the working poor,” Berger said at
    the time.

    The Senate and House approved competing measures in 2022 but negotiations stalled over certificate of need changes. Berger and House Speaker Tim
    Moore announced an agreement three weeks ago.

    In 2019, Cooper’s insistence on advancing expansion contributed to a state budget impasse with GOP legislators that never got fully resolved.

    House Minority Leader Robert Reives of Chatham County wished the budget
    passage requirement was left out of the expansion measure but remained celebratory.

    “I’m just really happy because health care means everything,” Reives said.
    “Now the onus is on all of us to put together a budgetary document that everybody can live with.”

    The state’s 10% share of expenses for Medicaid expansion recipients would
    be paid through hospital assessments. Hospitals also are expected to
    receive larger reimbursements for treating Medicaid patients through a
    federal program that the legislation tells the state to participate in.

    The program's proceeds should help shore up rural hospitals in a state
    where several have closed.

    “This landmark legislation will have lasting benefits for our state by
    helping hardworking North Carolina families, stabilizing rural health
    providers and improving the overall health of our communities,” said Steve Lawler with the North Carolina Healthcare Association, which represents hospitals and hospital systems.

    In a news release, Moore called Thursday’s passage a “historic step
    forward to increase access to healthcare for our rural communities” and he
    said he looked forward to passing "a strong conservative budget” so
    expansion can begin.

    <https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/nc-approves-medicaid-expansion- reversing-long-opposition-98072417>

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