Source: Editorial Board
Earlier this year, North Carolina became the 40th state to expand Medicaid. Since then, thousands of North Carolinians have remained without healthcare coverage, as state Republicans tied the crucial care’s start date until the adoption of the state budget.
“Making Medicaid Expansion contingent on passing the budget was and is unnecessary, and now the failure of Republican legislators to pass the budget is ripping health care away from thousands of real people and costing our state and our hospitals millions of dollars,” Cooper stated in a press release. “Tying it to the budget is tying our hands, and the legislature should decouple the two and start Medicaid Expansion now.”
Since Cooper signed the bill into law back in March, state Republicans have stalled on authorizing a new state budget. July 1 marked the beginning of the new fiscal year, however, state Republicans in the House and Senate have yet to agree to a state budget, putting Medicaid expansion on hold for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.
“To get all the way to the finish line and be like you can’t step over the line just yet, it’s kind of a slap in the face to be honest,” Adrienne Hayes-Singleton, a long-time advocate of Medicaid expansion, told WAVY. “These are people. They’re not numbers.”
More than 9,000 North Carolinians will lose their Medicaid coverage this month due to state Republicans failing to implement the expansion.
“I’m very concerned about it, to be honest with you. A lot of our patients are in a holding pattern,” Dr. Joel Gallagher, a local physician, told WAVY. “And, they don’t know whether they can come in and get an issue evaluated because they don’t want to be strapped with medical debt.”
Once implemented, Medicaid expansion is expected to provide health coverage access to over 600,000 people across the state and bring billions in federal dollars, according to the governor’s release.