General Assembly

House opts-out of Medicaid Expansion

MedicaidThe North Carolina House of Representatives today passed a bill that clarifies that the state will neither expand Medicaid nor pursue a state-based health care exchange under the Federal Affordable Care Act. Senate Bill 4 passed the Senate late last week, and passed through the House today on a 75-42 vote.

“This bill puts the interests of our taxpayers and Medicaid patients first,” said Speaker Tillis. “It is clear that North Carolina’s Medicaid system is broken. This bill is rightly focused on repairing Medicaid to better serve our citizens, rather than expanding a broken program.”

The bill opts North Carolina out of an expansion of Medicaid under the Federal health care law. A recent audit of North Carolina’s Medicaid system showed millions of dollars in mismanagement, the latest in a string of well-documented problems for the system. The bill also clarifies North Carolina’s choice not to pursue a state-based health insurance exchange.

“The Affordable Care Act has created incredible amounts of uncertainty in our state,” said Rep. Justin Burr (R-Stanly), who co-sponsored the legislation. “We simply cannot put North Carolina taxpayers on the hook for two costly tenets of a bureaucratically-operated Federal plan.”

The bill underwent technical changes in the House to protect specific information-technology funds in the Medicaid system. “We worked closely with Governor McCrory’s office to address concerns about continuing to draw down funds for the NCFAST software,” said Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake), also a co-sponsor. “We now have a bill that accomplishes everyone’s goals.”

The bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence, then will move to Governor McCrory for his signature.