Swing State Expanding Medicaid To 600,000+ After Deal Defying MAGA


Defying the trend of some of the most avowedly conservative forces pushing back on the prospect of expanding Medicaid, despite the support made available for doing so by the federal government, Republican leaders of both the North Carolina House and Senate have unveiled a deal to finally add that state to the list of locales that have expanded their Medicaid programs. It’s a minority of states that still haven’t done so.

North Carolina has a Democratic governor named Roy Cooper who, as his party affiliation would suggest, is also in support of expanding Medicaid in the state, making enacting this proposal seem close to reality. Putting these specific proposals into motion evidently won’t lead to any additional costs for North Carolina. The money is generally federal in origin, emanating, it would seem, from coffers to which taxpaying residents of North Carolina have already been contributing for the years in which they haven’t had an expanded Medicaid initiative in the state.

As explained by the North Carolina publication The News & Observer, the expansion of the health coverage program in North Carolina will both bring low-income adults who don’t have children (or dependents) into coverage opportunities and raise the amounts that people can make while getting the benefits. Previously, that amount was capped at what was apparently under half of the federal poverty line, which obviously sounds like it could exclude a lot of genuinely vulnerable people. That’ll increase to nearly one and one-half of the federal poverty line, which is a financial measurement that changes through the years. Available information indicates that well over half a million residents of the state — numbers say 600,000 — would become eligible for Medicaid benefits with the expansion plan as laid out.

Tim Moore, the state House Speaker, described the move as set to bring down costs. Expanding the state’s Medicaid program “is going to ensure that there is a more robust supply of a lot of these services,” he said. “That is going to result in less cost, but at the same time vitally important to protect access to health care, particularly in our rural areas.”

The bill still has to be actually passed, with details that were set to be finalized like when it would go into effect. The developments mirror advances in health coverage put into motion at the federal level by Democrats, like a limit of $2,000 a year in costs made law for seniors on Medicare paying for prescriptions and the expansion to government assistance with paying for health insurance obtained through the Marketplace established in association with the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Both of those changes were in Congressional Democrats’ budget reconciliation deal known as the Inflation Reduction Act.

Image: Gage Skidmore/ Creative Commons