Hamilton blasts House vote against expanding Medicaid - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Hamilton blasts House vote against expanding Medicaid

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Legislation to prevent North Carolina from accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid and run an online marketplace for private health insurance policies could soon be ready for Gov. Pat McCrory's signature.

The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation that declines participation in portions of the federal Affordable Care Act by a largely party-line vote of 75-42. The chamber gave initial approval Wednesday. The measure now returns to the Senate, which approved a slightly different version last week.

McCrory and other Republicans argue the state Medicaid agency isn't prepared to cover an additional 500,000 people starting next year and that operating costs for the expansion aren't settled.

Democrats call the holdback a political move that denies care to the uninsured, even though it would cost the state nothing through 2016.

"Expanding Medicaid would have helped working families who are still struggling in this economy," Rep. Susi Hamilton of New Hanover County said in a statement. "I voted against  blocking expansion because we shouldn't let politics stand in the way of expanding health care coverage to 500,000 people, creating 23,000 jobs and preventing the cost of treating the uninsured from being passed on to hard working taxpayers. This short-sighted decision to reject Medicaid expansion will hurt our economy and the quality of life for many citizens."

Hamilton and fellow Democrats William Brisson of Bladen County and Ken Waddell of Columbus County voted against the bill. Republicans Rick Catlin and Ted Davis of New Hanover County, along with Frank Iler of Brunswick County and Chris Millis of Pender County voted for the bill.

Copyright 2013 WECT. Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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