Richard Needleman is a retired orthopedic surgeon and a member of Doctors for America.

Bipartisan majority of North Carolinians want to expand Medicaid

New healthcare legislation including Medicaid expansion (HB 149) was passed by the North Carolina State Senate on June 1 by a near-unanimous vote. The measure has been sent to the House for consideration. The income threshold for Medicaid coverage would increase from 100% to 138% of the federal poverty guidelines and provide healthcare access for up to 600,000 uninsured low-income people and families.

Republican Phil Berger, the highest-ranking officer of the Senate, strongly supports Medicaid expansion. He cites the durability of the federal promise to defray the state’s cost for Medicaid expansion by 90% and recent improvements in how Medicaid is administered. House Republican leader Tim Moore, the Speaker of the House, is opposed to the bill in its current form and does not feel there is sufficient Republican support so the bill may not be filed during the short General Assembly session this year. The House would have to approve the bill before heading to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is a long-time supporter of expanding Medicaid. He said on May 11, “I believe that we’re getting closer than ever to an agreement.”

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