Today North Carolina’s Legislature passed Medicaid expansion in a bipartisan vote of 87-24. North Carolina’s Governor is expected to sign the bill early next week. This is a huge victory for better health care that will affect over 600,000 North Carolinians. I wrote last week about the multiple factors that set the stage for expansion in North Carolina.
When the bill is signed next week, it is important to note that the linkage of the implementation of Medicaid expansion to the state budget passage will result in an unneeded delay in making coverage available as quickly as possible. The confluence of policy and political forces that came together to enable expansion in North Carolina will continue to exert pressure during the implementation phase just as they have in other states where Medicaid has been expanded over the last several years.
Another noteworthy development this week occurred in Alabama where the state legislature held a sudden hearing on Medicaid expansion. Officially, the hearing was billed as an educational opportunity to learn about the number and life profile of working Alabamians without health insurance and discuss potential options to get them coverage. (CCF’s fact sheet on Alabama’s uninsured low-wage workers would be a good place to start the fact-finding exercise.) Clearly, policymakers in other states are taking a look at what is happening in North Carolina.