RALEIGH – June 22, 2022 – On June 22nd, House of Representatives Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) presented an alternative proposal to close the health insurance gap. This represents a counterproposal to House Bill 149 (HB 149) that was sent to him by the Senate after near unanimous approval on June 1st. Moore’s bill would provide health care coverage for up to 600,000 low-income North Carolinians who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to qualify for insurance subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act. He said, “I wanted to make sure we didn’t do anything that would be a disincentive to folks going to work that would encourage someone who was otherwise able-bodied, to try to avoid work and supporting themselves over something.”
The new House proposal would also create a job services program for Medicaid enrollees who are out-of-work, with training, employment services, and job placement. However, a recent study has shown that 76% of eligible people for Medicaid expansion already have a job.
The bill creates another study group to examine Medicaid expansion and calls for legislators to reconvene in December — after this fall’s election — for the actual vote on expanding the Medicaid program. Only two months ago, another legislative committee met to study Medicaid expansion and access to health care.
Moore’s bill does not include the two controversial provisions contained in HB 149, eliminating the certificate of need law and allowing advanced practice registered nurses to provide patient care without physician supervision, that have alienated hospitals and physicians respectively.
Neither Medicaid expansion bill would cost the state any additional funds and incentives will bring significant funds into the state. The federal government will reduce each state’s cost by 90% (worth billions of dollars annually) and the remaining state’s cost would be covered by hospital assessments (a feature of both bills). Hospitals are supportive because more patients would be covered by health insurance. The Biden administration has offered an additional $1.5 billion incentive for each of the remaining states to expand Medicaid. Moore would use a billion of those dollars to address mental health services and treatment for substance use disorders.
The bill is expected to be ready for a House vote soon. The short session usually ends just before the 4th of July.
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Contact: Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org