North Carolina expands Medicaid after Republicans drop opposition
“The argument that this is somehow an endorsement of Obamacare loses a lot of political value, even among conservatives,” said Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA, a care advocacy group. Washington-based health.
Hospitals, especially struggling rural hospitals, are hungry for the extra revenue that Medicaid reimbursement will bring. The federal government is covering 90% of reimbursement costs under the expansion, and in North Carolina, hospitals will pay the remaining 10%. The state revamped its Medicaid program, moving it from a fee-for-service program to one that relies on managed care — a goal long sought by Republicans.
“It’s been a long day coming, but it’s the result of a lot of reforms,” Republican and state House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore said during the signing ceremony. The changes, he said, “have put us in the position that we are in today to be able to expand that coverage.”
For Mr. Cooper, who is in his second term and has been mentioned as a possible future Democratic candidate for the Senate or even for the presidency, signing the bill was a significant victory. He sought to expand Medicaid when he first took office in 2017, and Republicans sued in federal court to stop him from doing so.
The push for expansion accelerated last year, when the state House and Senate approved separate measures. But the two chambers were unable to reconcile the differences.
Monday’s signing ceremony was by turns poignant and celebratory. Cassandra Brooks, who runs Little Believer’s Academy, a day care center in the Raleigh area, fought back tears as she remembered two of her teachers who died, she said, because they couldn’t afford to pay for health care.
“They were excellent early childhood teachers who didn’t have health insurance and passed away due to preventable health issues,” she said. She touted the expansion measure as a boon for small businesses that operate on thin margins and cannot afford to provide coverage for their employees.
“Here is the expansion of Medicaid in North Carolina,” she said. “Here’s to supporting small businesses in North Carolina. Here’s to continued growth in North Carolina. I believe in North Carolina.