Bill to expand Medicaid headed to NC Senate after 92-22 vote in House
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A bill to expand Medicaid coverage to more people passed its third reading on Thursday morning with a 92-22 vote in the N.C. House of Representatives and is now headed to the state Senate.
Representatives in southeastern North Carolina Charles Miller, Ted Davis, Deb Butler, Frank Iler, William Brisson and Brenden Jones voted in favor of the legislation, while Carson Smith voted against it. All of the “no” votes came from republicans.
Titled “Access to Healthcare Options,” House Bill 76 would provide Medicaid coverage through NC Health Works to people who are under 65, not otherwise entitled to benefits under another section, and whose income is less than 133% of the federal poverty line—about $19,750 for a one-person household.
The General Assembly plans to fully fund the non-federal share of the NC Health Works cost from increasing taxes on insurers, health maintenance organizations, prepaid health plans and others described in G.S. 105-228.5. Excluding state retention, it would also be funded through increases in intergovernmental transfers and hospital health advancement assessments under G.S. 108A Article 7B. It could also be funded through savings that can go to NC Health Works corresponding to other budget reductions.
But most of the funding is federal; the bill outlines that if the federal assistance percentage for coverage to people who become eligible falls below 90%, then coverage would be discontinued.
Rep. Smith sent a statement to WECT News on why he voted against the bill:
“Our federal government spending is beyond out of control. I just cannot be a part of putting our country further into debt while at the same time making more folks dependent on government run healthcare. If the folks in congress can’t come close to balancing a budget, how can we continue to turn all of our healthcare over to them.” - Rep. Carson Smith (R-Pender County)
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