One Step Closer: NC Legislators Reach Milestone Medicaid Expansion Deal

March 6, 2023

One step closer. The North Carolina General Assembly has taken one step closer to expanding Medicaid for the nearly 600,000 North Carolinians who will benefit from coverage, for the projected $2.9 billion in new business and health care activity and the 37,220 new jobs statewide. A step that the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce joins multiple Chambers of Commerce from across the state in applauding.

North Carolina legislative leaders announced Thursday, March 2, an agreement to expand Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults through the Affordable Care Act. The deal, which likely won’t be voted on until later this month at the earliest, marks a milestone for Republican lawmakers, most of whom opposed expansion for a decade until recently, and for hospitals and patient advocates who sought it all that time.

Gov. Roy Cooper wrote that it was “a monumental step” and that he wants it to be written to take effect immediately. Medicaid expansion under a House-passed plan would take effect Jan. 1, but Berger indicated that timing is up in the air.

House Bill 76 “Access to Healthcare Options”, sponsored by Representative Lambeth, a former hospital administrator, and cosponsored by the entire Buncombe House Delegation, passed the NC House 92-22 in on Feb. 16th. The bill would extend Medicaid coverage to those with household income below 133% of the federal poverty level. It would also provide more funding to rural hospitals. HB 76 does not include some of the sticking points from last session including certificate of need reform. It passed a first reading in the Senate on Feb. 20th before being referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The bill is tied to the 2023-2024 budget and will expire if a state budget is not signed into law by Dec. 31st.

While we know that this is not the final bill, we will continue to advocate for the reduction of barriers to affordable health insurance and an increase in access to healthcare for NC’s workforce through the expansion of Medicaid.

To learn more about our stance on Medicaid Expansion, check out this one-pager from our 2023 Policy Agenda.

Learn about other Chambers supporting Medicaid Expansion.

Read more on this topic from the Raleigh News & Observer.