Medicaid Expansion

Latino child
Lillian Zepeda / Flickr Creative Commons

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped close the health insurance gap for North Carolina's Latino children, according to a national report.

A picture of a dctor holding a stethoscope.
Alex Proimos / Flickr

North Carolina lawmakers have chosen to not expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

Republican state leaders, including Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, have said that, even if the federal government initially subsidizes new people enrolling in Medicaid, the program would eventually cost the state more than it saves.

Medicaid reform is at the forefront of the state's legislative agenda this session, but legislators are still debating how to design the reform. 

The Senate wants to privatize administration and let commercial insurance companies control the market while the House and Governor McCrory want state health care providers to be in charge. A new report from Wake Forest University argues for a hybrid strategy.

N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper
N.C. Democratic Party

Attorney General Roy Cooper says he'll continue to criticize Republican policies during the legislative session that begins Wednesday, hinting once again hinting that he might run for governor in 2016.  

At a luncheon held by the women’s group Lillian's List, Cooper told a few hundred Democrats that he supports issues such as abortion rights and expanding Medicaid in North Carolina.

He hasn't announced his candidacy for governor, but he’s widely seen as the most likely Democrat to try to unseat Republican Gov. Pat McCrory.

The head of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is speaking out in support of expanding Medicaid in the state.

Brad Wilson is President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

“As business leaders of North Carolina, you need to help us craft a solution to expand Medicaid," said Wilson.

Wilson tossed out that charge during this week’s Economic Forecast Forum in Research Triangle Park, sponsored by the North Carolina Bankers Association and the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. 

Ralf Heb / Flickr/Creative Commons

In recent months, Governor Pat McCrory has said he’s considering proposing expansion of the state’s Medicaid program, which would allow more low-income people here to receive health care. Back in 2012, the General Assembly passed a bill blocking expansion and the formation of a state health exchange. The governor signed it into law. But now, many other Republican-led states are moving forward with enlarging eligibility for the program. Yet Republican leaders don’t have a consensus on what to do here.

Photo: Rep. Tim Moore and NC House GOP Leadership
Jorge Valencia

North Carolina Republicans have nominated a new State House Speaker to succeed U.S. Senator-elect Thom Tillis. Tim Moore is an attorney and small business owner from Kings Mountain, a small town about 30 miles west of Charlotte. He's been in the House for six terms.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives chose Moore in a closed-door meeting. They locked themselves in a conference room at Randolph Community College. Moore needed at least half the votes plus one to win, and that was exactly what he got.

Image of tools in doctor's office
Morgan / Flickr/Creative Commons

State health secretary Aldona Wos says North Carolina would likely need to change some of its Medicaid rules to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. 

The health care law offered to pay for expanded Medicaid through 2016, but North Carolina was one of 24 states that rejected the expansion last year.  Gov. Pat McCrory said the state's Medicaid program was broken, and was not confident the federal government would cover the costs. 

But Wos says Medicaid is now more stable, and she plans to present the governor with options for expanding Medicaid. 

Aldona Vos, DHHS
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services


North Carolina’s Medicaid program covers 1.7 million people at a cost of $14 billion per year.

The program for low-income and disabled residents has had a turbulent past. Last year, computer glitches created a long backlog of applications and payments for providers. And Medicaid has been a question mark in the budget, causing cost overruns for several years.

But health officials say the system is improving enough that the state could reconsider expanding Medicaid to half a million people who do not have health insurance.

A picture of Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neal

Belhaven Mayor Adam O'Neill says he's optimistic that the hospital in his town will reopen soon.

The non-profit Vidant Health closed the Pungo hospital there this summer, which served low-income and minority populations. 

Mayor O'Neill walked nearly 300 miles to Washington, D.C. to ask regulators to look into the closure.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has agreed to investigate whether Vidant's closing of the hospital has displayed unlawful discrimination based on race and national origin.

North Carolina will be missing out on $51 billion from Mediciad because they chose not to expand coverage.


Lawmakers in North Carolina decided to not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Protesters crowd the capitol for a Moral Mondays protest.
Matthew Lenard

Thousands of people are expected to march in downtown Raleigh on Saturday, some coming in buses from other states, to call on North Carolina legislators to reverse laws they’ve signed over the last year including requiring voters to show IDs in polling stations, reducing unemployment benefits and blocking Medicaid expansion.

Community Care of North Carolina

North Carolina is enrolling more uninsured people than any other state that refused to set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

Health care policy director Adam Searing of the NC Justice Center says the state-run Medicaid system, Community Care, has made a big difference.

The state has encouraged social and health services to cooperate to provide Medicaid patients solid care up front, and now friends and family members who don't qualify for Medicaid have affordable options and guidance for enrolling in private healthcare.

Photo: The Rev. William Barber outside the North Carolina State Capitol building.
Jorge Valencia

A judge gave permission Monday to a group that’s been protesting new North Carolina laws to rally on the grounds of the state Capitol building.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour’s decision reversed denial of a permit  earlier this month.  It served as a preamble for the new year of protests, that have become known as Moral Monday, against the Republican-controlled state legislature.

Just hours after the decision, the Rev. William Barber, one of the key Moral Monday organizers, spoke to dozens of people on a courtyard outside the Capitol, mapping out 2014.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory has again defended North Carolina's new voting law during a talk at a leading conservative think tank. 

McCrory spoke at an event Monday hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington.  He stood behind the state's new voting rules, which require a photo ID at the polls, pointing out that 32 other states have similar laws.  He also criticized attorney general Roy Cooper for speaking out against the law.

State Senate chamber
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

Lawmakers in the State Senate have presented a $20.6 billion budget proposal. It would spend slightly less than Governor McCrory’s plan and offers no raises for state employees.  The plan would also increase state Medicaid spending by about $300 million and make big changes to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Republican budget writer Senator Pete Brunstetter told reporters earlier today that he knows this is a tough budget plan. He says its purpose is to make sure the state lives within its means.

N.C. General Assembly, State Legislature
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

State lawmakers in the House have passed a bill that would block an expansion of North Carolina's Medicaid program. It passed on third reading Thursday. Republican lawmakers are opposed to enlarging Medicaid to help cover about 500,000 uninsured residents under the Affordable Care Act. Representative John Blust says the state would end up covering too many costs.

State officials say they plan to reform the health department ahead of their budget proposal to the General Assembly.  Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers yesterday her priorities are to overhaul the state's Medicaid program and improve her office's computer system.  Wos said in committee testimony aired on that she's cleaning up a department whose employees have filled out incomprehensible reports and wasted money through poor communication.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Governor's Office

A state House committee has moved along a bill that would block any state-funded expansion of Medicaid.  The Health and Human services Committee voted to follow Governor Pat McCrory's lead saying that Medicaid should not grow to cover about half-a million uninsured residents.  States can expand Medicaid to help cover the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act..but they can also opt out of that expansion.   Governor McCrory said the program's budget is tight in a speech at the Emerging Issues Forum at N-C State yesterday.