North Carolina Lawmakers Reject Medicaid Expansion

Feb 28, 2013

North Carolina’s Republican Lawmakers are sticking by conservative principles early in Gov. Pat McCrory’s first term. Last week, he signed legislation cutting unemployment benefits. The move was an attempt to pay back debt owed the federal government earlier.

And this week, legislators voted for and sent along a piece of legislation that would reject a federal option to expand Medicaid.

The rationale Republicans gave was that expanding Medicaid would cause about 80 percent of new recipients to leave their private health insurance in favor of government sponsored aid. They based this figure on a report by the Department of Veterans Affairs. But News & Observer reporter John Frank said on The State of Things that the lead author of that report disputed Republicans’ take.

“When we talked to the study’s author…he says that they’re misquoting the study. Pulling out a section that doesn’t apply to what they’re talking about here in North Carolina.”

The federal government agreed to pay 100 percent of the cost of new Medicaid recipients until 2016 and 90 percent after that. But lawmakers didn’t trust the government’s promise of payment.

“Republican lawmakers weren’t satisfied with that assurance, saying given the federal deficit and discussions in Washington, there really is no guarantee on any federal money right now,” Frank said.  

Governor McCrory hasn’t yet signed the bill into law, but he is expected to.