RALEIGH, NC – March 2, 2023 – At a March 2nd press conference, Senator President pro tem Phil Berger (R-Eden) and House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain), the leaders in the N.C. General Assembly, announced an agreement to go forward with Medicaid Expansion (ME) legislation. This includes major provisions from House Bill (HB) 76, that recently passed a House vote, as well as several Certificate of Need reform measures included in last year’s senate ME bill. They will make the specifics public in the future. The deal is not likely to be voted on for at least one month. The bill will be tied directly to the 2023-24 state budget. The budget must be signed by December 31 (the end of this legislative session) to become law on January 1, 2024.
North Carolina is one of 11 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. Expanding Medicaid will enable 6 hundred thousand under-resourced North Carolinians to have access to health care including almost 17 thousand people from Buncombe County. Most of the registered voters in N.C. are in favor of expanding Medicaid by a 3:1 margin. The Medicaid expansion issue stalled during last year’s legislative session. Each chamber passed their own version, but they couldn’t agree on additional provisions to be attached to the core proposal.
The House passed House Bill (HB) 76 with a wide bipartisan majority which features expanding Medicaid. It was sponsored by Representative Donny Lambeth (R-eastern Forsyth County). The bill includes provisions for job training for the unemployed, for hospitals to cover the remainder of the state’s cost to expand Medicare, and a program for loan forgiveness for doctors and nurses that choose to practice in underserved areas.
The new agreement includes loosening the Certificate of Need (CON) laws that would increase health care competition and lower health care costs. This measure can increase the number of facilities and personnel for more people to access health care.
Moore said at the press conference, “What a huge policy direction this is that will provide help for so many in this state, but it’s going to do it in a way that’s fiscally responsible.”
Listen to the full report below:
Contact: Dr. Dick Needleman, Health reporter, 103.3 AshevilleFM, firstname.lastname@example.org