More than 600,000 uninsured North Carolinians are stuck in limbo, as state Republican lawmakers drag out budget negotiations for another week.
Last week, Republican legislative leaders suggested a possible vote when the General Assembly resumes business the week of Aug. 7. However, House Speaker Tim Moore has recently gone so far as to say that there’s “no chance” a budget will pass this month.
In March, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Medicaid expansion into law, but state Republicans tied the implementation to the passage of the state budget. Since March, Governor Cooper and state Democrats have condemned Republicans for delaying access to critical health care coverage for hundreds of thousands across the state.
On top of budget delay, a federal COVID-19 program stopped continuous coverage for Medicaid patients last month. The end of the federal public health emergency program has resulted in more than 35,000 North Carolinians losing their coverage, according to the Greensboro News & Record.
As the state continues to wait for budget negotiations, the state Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced late last month that it is aiming to open up Medicaid expansion on Oct. 1.
However, the October date can only be solidified once lawmakers and the governor agree and pass a budget before September, according to WRAL.
“Having a clear date and beginning that work now is going to allow us to get folks on (coverage) and really maximize the benefit as soon as possible,” Kody Kinsley, DHHS Secretary, told The Associated Press.