As it turns out, the door for Medicaid expansion is not completely shut.
After the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan expansion bill last month, prospects in the House appeared dim as recently as a few days ago.
Now, however, Republican leaders in the House are prepared to put forward a Medicaid expansion bill of their own.
The bill directs the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop a Medicaid expansion plan that will be presented to the General Assembly for a vote later this year.
The bill also gives DHHS the authority to work with the federal government to ensure there is no net cost to the state.
In addition to expanding Medicaid, the House bill, thankfully, does not include any kind of costly mandate.
Unfortunately, the proposal also takes out many Senate-passed measures that would lower healthcare costs and improve access. CON reform, surprise billing protections, and the SAVE Act are not part of the House’s bill. As the two chambers continue their negotiations, leaders should work to ensure these important access and affordability measures are included in the final product.
Overall, however, the House proposal keeps the ball moving forward on a responsible, workable plan to expand Medicaid.
And that’s a lot better than where we were a few days ago.