North Carolina finally on verge of expanding Medicaid??

North Carolina

While ACA Medicaid expansion just died for a 9th time in Wyoming, it may finally be on the verge of actually happening in a much larger state. Via Gary Robertson of the Associated Press:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina General Assembly began on Tuesday what could become the final push to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low-income adults in the state with a House measure that quickly advanced through two committees with bipartisan support.

The bill is generally expected to pass the NC House as soon as today...and a different version of the bill is expected to pass the state Senate as well. The issue is the difference between the two versions:

The Medicaid expansion question has been discussed in the state for over a decade, with Republicans in charge of the General Assembly usually blocking the idea and Democrats led by Gov. Roy Cooper pleading for them to enact it. But GOP heavyweights, in particular Senate leader Phil Berger, have come around to the idea recently.

Last year, both chambers overwhelmingly approved competing expansion measures that never got boiled down to a compromise. Senate Republicans insist any package contain provisions designed to ease “certificate of need” laws that require health regulators to sign off on expansion plans by medical providers. The Senate also wants to give some specialty nurses independence to practice without a physician’s supervision.

The timing of a final expansion bill finally passing & being signed into law is even more important at the moment due to the pending Medicaid Unwinding debacle:

...The measure would direct the state starting next January to cover applicants who would qualify for expansion — potentially up to 600,000 people — under the 2010 federal health care law through a program named NC Health Works.

...North Carolina state Medicaid enrollment is 2.9 million. The state Department of Health and Human Services had said up to 300,000 current beneficiaries could lose full health care coverage as the federal government ends a pandemic-era prohibition on removing people from the Medicaid rolls and requiring states to conduct annual eligibility verifications.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE 4:30pm: Sure enough, the NC House just passed the Medicaid expansion bill by an overwhelming 96-23 margin!