Under former governor Pat McCrory, North Carolina was among the group of states that refused to accept Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
Newly elected governor Roy Cooper wants to correct McCrory's many mistakes and he's expected to issue an executive order today to expand the program.
Addressing a group of business leaders at an economic forum Wednesday morning, the governor – who was sworn into office on New Year’s Day – said he would file an amendment to the state Medicaid plan by Friday. [...]
“What if I were to tell you that we have the opportunity to bring in $2 billion to $4 billion a year in investment in North Carolina?” he asked the audience of about 900 at the annual economic forum sponsored by the N.C. Chamber and the N.C. Bankers Association. “What if I told you we are looking at 20,000 to 40,000 good-paying jobs?”
Billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of jobs sounds great, unless you're a Republican.
Senator leader Phil Berger (R) said Cooper's actions are an "illegal attempt to force a massive, budget-busting Obamacare expansion on North Carolina taxpayers" which, if you know anything at all about Medicaid expansion, you know is a lie.
The federal government currently covers over 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion and the remaining amount essentially pays for itself in new revenue. It's true that Congressional Republicans may soon eliminate Medicaid expansion while repealing the rest of Obamacare but, until they actually do it, lawmakers should carry on as if the program will remain intact.
As many as 650,000 residents of North Carolina would be eligible to enroll in the expanded Medicaid program according to Cooper. That would be in line with enrollment in other states.
Cooper's point about jobs and investment may be the only thing that saves Medicaid in the coming years because if congressional Republicans cut the program, there will be a legion of angry constituents, lawmakers, business leaders, and healthcare professionals lining up to defend it. Because it's not as if that money will be redistributed elsewhere; it will simply cease to exist. Entire regional healthcare systems will collapse with no replacement.