Sep 25, 2023 - News

North Carolina will expand Medicaid eligibility in December

Illustration of a red cross multiplying into many red crosses.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Medicaid expansion in North Carolina will go live on Dec. 1, Gov. Roy Cooper and N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley announced Monday.

Why it matters: When it does, expansion will make more than 600,000 of the state's poorest residents newly eligible for government health care coverage.

Catch up quick: State legislators had agreed to expand Medicaid access in the state months ago.

Details: On Dec. 1, around 300,000 North Carolian residents currently receiving Medicaid Family Planning benefits will be automatically enrolled in full health coverage, DHHS said.

  • Adults aged 19 to 64 who are making up to 138% of the federal poverty level will also become eligible.
  • For a single person that would be under $20,000 a year or under $34,000 for a family of three.

Between the lines: For more than a decade, Republican leaders in the state blocked an expansion of the Medicaid program in the state, which became a possibility under the Affordable Care Act.

  • But last year, Senate leader Phil Berger reversed his position on expansion and began negotiating its passage.
  • Ultimately, Medicaid expansion was included in this year's budget, which included many other priorities of Republicans in the General Assembly, instead of a standalone bill.

What they're saying: On Monday, Cooper said the budget deserved to be vetoed, but that he wouldn't do so because of Medicaid expansion.

  • "That would take this bill out of my hands and send it back to this legislature where even more mischief could have put Medicaid expansion at risk," he said at a press conference.
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