RALEIGH, NC – July, 2023 – North Carolina cannot expand Medicaid until the Republican-dominated General Assembly can decide upon the 2023-24 state budget. A state Medicaid expansion bill was passed by the General Assembly and was signed by the Governor on March 27th. However, the bill is tied directly to agreeing upon the 2023-24 state budget. The House and the Senate have been negotiating over the budget for months and no deal had been reached before the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1st. Therefore, it is imperative that the General Assembly agree upon the state budget in order for six hundred thousand under-resourced North Carolinians to have access to health care, including almost 17 thousand people from Buncombe County. Any raises for state employees including teachers and the police are also on hold until the budget is passed. A deal is likely to be reached in mid-August after the legislators return from their summer vacation and political conferences.
House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger have told reporters that the impasse is due to decisions about taxes and budget reserves. The Democrat legislators have been very critical of the Republicans legislators for the delay. Representative Jason Saine, a Republican from Lincolnton and the House head budget writer, says that the delay is about the Republicans being ‘pragmatic’ and working through the budget process. There is no possibility of a government shutdown because the new fiscal year spending rolls over at the previous year’s amount.
North Carolina is waiting to be the 40th state to expand Medicaid. There are now 10 states that have not expanded Medicaid as recommended in the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and left to each state to decide in a subsequent Supreme Court ruling.
Attorney General Josh Stein, who is running for Governor in 2024, told the Charlotte News & Observer that he is “disappointed by what appears to be a lack of concern for the real priorities of the people of North Carolina.”
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Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org