Today, Governor Roy Cooper released the following statement on the importance of separating Medicaid Expansion from the state budget:
“Making Medicaid Expansion contingent on passing the budget was and is unnecessary, and now the failure of Republican legislators to pass the budget is ripping health care away from thousands of real people and costing our state and our hospitals millions of dollars. Tying it to the budget is tying our hands, and the legislature should decouple the two and start Medicaid Expansion now.”
Governor Cooper signed a bill authorizing Medicaid Expansion into law March 27, 2023, but a provision that the Governor opposed in the bill, House Bill 76, Access to Healthcare Options, delayed its start date to adoption of the state budget.
The Republican controlled legislature has let the June 30, 2023 end of the fiscal year pass without authorizing a budget bill, further delaying Medicaid Expansion. This failure could result in more work for counties, less money for hospitals and people losing care in the interim for no reason.
If Medicaid Expansion and HASP (Healthcare Access and Stabilization Program that reimburses hospitals) don’t go live at the same time it will cost the hospitals as much at $60 million more than necessary.
This month, about 9,000 people will lose their Medicaid coverage who would have been able to keep it under expansion. These are working North Carolinians who need access to health care. Processing those 9,000 for eligibility later will be double work for our counties which are already facing workforce challenges.
Decoupling Medicaid expansion from the state budget now can get the process started while legislators continue to debate the budget. When Medicaid is finally expanded it is expected to provide health coverage to over 600,000 people across North Carolina and bring billions in federal dollars to the state. North Carolina is the 40th state to expand Medicaid.