Two leading GOP lawmakers expressed optimism that Medicaid Expansion could finally pass this legislative session.
According to the Raleigh News and Observer’s Insider, Senator Jim Burgin and Representative Wayne Sasser both expressed optimism that expansion could pass as soon as March of this year.
Burgin is a chair of the Senate Health Committee while Sasser is a chair of the House Health Committee.
Last legislative session, both chambers passed expansion legislation.
Ultimately, however, time ran out and the two sides were unable to reconcile their differences.
It appears now there is renewed hope that a deal can be struck.
North Carolina is one of 11 states that have not expanded Medicaid.
Years ago, federal legislation was passed that would expand Medicaid coverage to nearly all individuals earning below roughly $18,000 as an individual or about $37,000 for a family of four.
Today in North Carolina most individuals are only eligible for Medicaid if you are a child, pregnant, or have a disability.
Expansion would provide coverage to about 500,000 new individuals.
Finding a way to provide affordable insurance to an additional 500,000 uninsured individuals will lessen the burden on businesses and workers to subsidize the cost on uncompensated care, and thus drive down premiums.
It also has the potential to help the working poor get health coverage, ease medical debt, and save struggling rural hospitals.
It is good news, then, that leaders in both the Senate and House seem committed to finding a responsible, workable solution for North Carolina to expand Medicaid.